Tighter sanctions see Iran default on India rice payments

Iranian buyers have defaulted on payments for about 200,000 tonnes of rice from India in a sign of the mounting pressure on Tehran from a new wave of Western sanctions.

The default prompted the head of the All India Rice Exporters' Association to call on members to stop exports to Iran based on credit, which would be a fresh blow to a country where imports of staple foods are already being hampered by sanctions.

Indian sources said the Iranian buyers had defaulted on payments worth about $144m (£90m) for shipments under long-term supply deals.

The country is finding it increasingly difficult to repatriate the hard currency from its crude oil exports that it needs to pay for shipments of food other imports. A sharp drop in the value of the rial is also adding to Iran's import costs.