US Presses Turkey to Stop Using Gold in Trade With Iran

As US Sanctions Grow, So Do Ways to Avoid Them

by Jason Ditz, December 05, 2012

US sanctions against Iran are turning into a major humanitarian problem. causing major hardship for average Iranians and medicine shortages in hospitals. Each week the US imposes more sanctions on commerce, forcing Iranians to find new ways to keep vital goods flowing.

So late last week, hopeful to keep getting paid for natural gas exports to major trading partner Turkey and facing banking sanctions that make any trade in any government currency all but impossible, Iran started trading in gold with Turkey.

Since gold is a physical currency and not a paper money, the US can’t really do anything about it. At least that’s what Iran and Turkey think. The US State Department is pretty sure they can, however, and is threatening Turkey over possible “sanctionable transactions.”

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, fresh off his unsuccessful attempted visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, shrugged off the threat insisting that the US can’t sanction trades of gold for natural gas and that Turkey is just going to keep doing it no matter how much the US complains.

The trade is several billion dollars, making gold an ideal means of exchange. Average Iranians dealing in smaller transactions don’t have this luxury, but they’re not giving up either, moving toward virtual currency Bitcoin. Since transaction in Bitcoin aren’t even hypothetically trackable, this makes them entirely unsanctionable. This is only an option for smaller deals, however, as the sum of all Bitcoins is far short of what would be needed for major international commerce.

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