An escalation in tensions between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait have halted exports of Iranian steel to both countries, according to an online media report.
The row is over the execution, in Saudi Arabia, of a prominent Shia cleric.
According a member of the Association of Iranian Steel Producers, Iran exports around 3Mt/yr of steel to the UAE and Kuwait, which represents less than 10% of total exports from Iran.
Iraq and Afghanistan receive most of Iran’s steel output and, therefore, the cutting of trade ties with the UAE and Kuwait – allies of Saudi Arabia – will have little impact on Iranian steel exports, according to Reza Shahrestani of the Association of Iranian Steel Producers.
The execution of Nimr al-Nimr took place on 2 January 2016 and ever since then relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have worsened. Saudia Arabia counts the UAE and Kuwait (along with Sudan, Djibouti and Bahrain) as allies.
During the first 11 months of 2015, Iran produced 14.8Mt of crude steel and is the world’s 14th biggest steel producer – and is the biggest Middle Eastern producer of steel.