LONDON - Using shadowy middle men, multiple bank accounts and a fleet of ghost ships, Iran's coal trade is quietly booming as the Islamic Republic tries to sidestep Western sanctions and prevent its industrial economy from crashing.
Tougher measures imposed by the European Union and the United States have tightened the screws on Tehran, which relies on its shipping trade for many imports including food, consumer and industrial goods. Many foreign companies, including shipping firms, have pulled out for fear of losing business in the US and due to the complexities of arranging non-sanctioned deals.
Despite the setbacks, industry sources say producers in Ukraine are providing Iran with coking coal, also known as metallurgical coal, and coke - key steel ingredients.
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