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EghtesadOnline: New Zealand says it has postponed a plan to export lamb to Iran – in what it says would be the first step to resume post-sanctions trade with the country – until December.

A spokesman for Silver Fern Farms, one of two exporters working with import companies in Iran, was quoted by media as saying that the company was still in the very early process of making agreements over lamb exports to Iran.

The spokesman – who has not been identified – emphasized that the plan would be put into practice next season which begins in December, according to PressTV.

With the lamb season wrapping up, it was too late for a deal to go through for this season, he was quoted as saying by Stuff.co.nz news website.

While speaking at the Central Districts Fieldays earlier this month, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said he had just returned from a visit to the Middle East country where he had signed a veterinary agreement that would pave the way for exports to Iran.

"Iran was a very important market for New Zealand in the 1980s. We were selling a quarter of our sheepmeat there before red tape and bureaucracy put a halt to the trade in the 1990s," he said.

New Zealand updated its regulations for doing business with Iran in February last year after the removal of US-led sanctions against the country.   

Stuff.com further quoted Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie as saying that the prospect of sheepmeat trade with Iran was positive because any new trade with countries would add to the competitiveness of the industry, hopefully boosting returns for product.

Iran sanctions Iran-New Zealand trade Iran lambs