Russian wheat vessels still stuck in Persian Gulf despite Iran’s promise to clear debt

27 Feb 2023 | Masha Belikova

Vessels carrying Russian wheat to Iranian ports remain at a standstill in the Persian Gulf, stuck where they have been for months, online ship tracking software shows. 

Some of the boats arrived back in September 2022 and are still not yet discharged despite the Iranian government's month-old promise that it would clear its debts.

Back on January 25, after the official visit of a Russian delegation to Iran, the two countries reached an agreement that Iran will pay for all the agricultural products that have been stuck in the region, including wheat.

But, since then, nothing has moved with vessels totaling around 662,500 mt of wheat still being shown as waiting in the Persian Gulf or at Iranian ports.

Much of the wheat that is believed to still be aboard the vessels is mostly thought to have been bought through the government purchasing agency GTC, rather than private buyers.

Trade sources have told Agricensus that most of the deals done with private buyers have been delivered, discharged and paid.

Iran traditionally has faced issues with payments amid long-lasting international sanctions, but in addition to those issues, and against a backdrop of domestic turmoil, it was said that the country has exhausted its funding.

Meanwhile, traders cannot cancel deals because they will incur significant losses since at the time of contract signing, prices were much higher.