TEHRAN, July 15 (UPI) -- Iran expects to garner non-oil trade worth more than $45 billion during its current calendar year despite a plethora of international sanctions led by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said non-oil exports during the calendar year ending March 20, 2012, would exceed $45 billion -- against $30 billion in the previous year -- and would consist of gas condensates, mineral fuels, chemical products, plastics and fertilizers as well as traditional commodities of fruit and nuts, Press TV reported.
Ahmadinejad made the projection as he addressed a ceremony to mark the launch of a number of industrial projects in Iran's Eastern Azerbaijan province, said the report.
The report didn't identify markets for the Iranian exports but indication of Iranian commercial activity circumventing the sanctions came during the conference of the "D8" developing countries in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The "D8" includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. The group was established in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 1997. Iran will take the rotating presidency of the "D8" group in 2013 and has called for the establishment of a joint investment fund for the group. A committee looking into the fund's feasibility will start work this month.
The Abuja meeting heard a message from Ahmadinejad inviting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to visit the Islamic Republic "in the near future," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The invitation was extended by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi when he met with Jonathan in Abuja Thursday.
Addressing the "D8" delegates, Salehi urged the member countries "to play a more active role in the regional and international establishment of peace and stability" -- and growth in mutual trade.
"The Islamic Republic strongly believes that the significance of the group is not only in strengthening intra-group relations among the member states but also in spreading the principle of dialogue and cooperation, exercising justice, and establishing regional and global peace and tranquility," he said in comments cited by IRNA.
He said the group should explore closer collaboration in agriculture, energy, food security, industry and transportation.
"Trade among member states and joint investments is one of the major ways for the achievement of D8 and its founders' high goals," Salehi said.
The United against Nuclear Iran campaign in the United States, meanwhile, is drumming up support for tougher measures against entities that trade with Iran. UANI has urged U.S. state and municipal legislatures to follow the lead of California and Florida and pass legislation barring companies that do business in Iran from receiving state contracts.
UANI said it wrote to governors and legislative leaders of 48 states, urging them to take action to pressure the Iranian regime.
California and Florida have already passed Iran debarment legislation.
UANI says Japanese crane manufacturer Tadano responded to its call by ending its business in Iran which was reported to have used the company's cranes to stage public hangings.
Container contractor Maersk earlier announced it suspended shipments to Iranian ports managed by the sanctioned Tidewater Middle East Co.
In June the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Tidewater Middle East Co. and state-run Iran Air for their alleged involvement in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The action against Tidewater Middle East Co., meanwhile, has prompted Tidewater Inc., which has headquarters in New Orleans and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as TDW, to announce it is in no way linked with Tidewater Middle East Co. or its Iranian affiliates.
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