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Sri Lanka repays $20m Iranian oil debt with tea

22 February 2024 03:02 pm - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, Feb 22 (Daily Star) -  Sri Lanka said Wednesday it had exported tea worth $20 million to Iran to partially repay its $251 million oil debts, with Colombo saying Tehran's visiting foreign minister had expressed "satisfaction" at the deal.

"So far $20 million worth of tea has been exported to Iran under the barter trade agreement," Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena's office said in a statement after talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The tea-for-oil deal was agreed upon in December 2021, but exports were delayed by Colombo's economic crisis that forced then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down in July 2022.

The barter deal allows sanctions-hit Iran to avoid having to use scarce hard currency to pay for imports of popular tea.

It also allowed Sri Lanka to pay with tea, as the country was short of foreign currency.

Sri Lankan officials have previously said that the tea-oil swap did not break US sanctions on Iran, since tea was a food item and the deal did not involve Iranian blacklisted banks.

The island defaulted on its $46 billion foreign debt in April 2022 and secured a $2.9 billion IMF bailout early last year.


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  Comments - 8

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  • Kumara Thursday, 22 February 2024 04:24 PM

    Tea pluckers deserve decent daily wages in return.

    UP COUNTRY Thursday, 22 February 2024 08:59 PM

    THANKS FOR UP COUNTRY TAMILS. GIVE THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS. BE HONESTLY.

    Tongue in Cheek Thursday, 22 February 2024 09:06 PM

    The truth is, SL is considered a perennially begging nation proudly made possible by our intelligent voters electing top politicians who always sacrificed their wealth to bring the nation to prosperity and the results are laid bare.

    Jayantha Thursday, 22 February 2024 11:28 PM

    Lol. See we are still struggling to pay back debts. Very soon we will have a crisis again. Better to leave this place before another crisis hits.

    ROSH Friday, 23 February 2024 01:22 AM

    Soon we can pay with cannabis

    Kevin Friday, 23 February 2024 02:18 AM

    All major tea buyers are under US sanctions. Russia, Iran, Libya, Syria, Turkey. But strangely Sri Lanka still exports tea to them!

    Jude Friday, 23 February 2024 02:28 AM

    And the Lankans paying the debt with Blood, Sweat and Tears yeah.

    DOT Friday, 23 February 2024 11:59 AM

    Minister 's visit, Right on the money! He was also acaccompaned with cupple of war ships! Well done!


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