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Sen. Lugar Impatient In Absence Of Iran Export Regulations

July 20, WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Tuesday called on President Bill Clinton to immediately put in place regulations that will allow U.S. companies to export agricultural products to Iran , Sudan and Libya.

"It has now been more than two months since (Undersecretary of State Stuart) Eizenstat testified at our hearing and there is still no definite timetable for implementing this new policy," Lugar said in a letter to Clinton.

The Clinton administration announced in April that food and medicine would be exempted from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions for Iran , Sudan and Libya.

Last May, Eizenstat testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee that regulations governing such exports would be in place by the end of June.

"We're very cognizant of the fact that if we tie this (licensing) process up in too much red tape, we would undercut the very purpose (of the exemptions)," Eizenstat said recently.

At least one company has applied for a license to sell a large amount of U.S. wheat to Iran . That license is under consideration at the Treasury Department, as it has been for several months.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. has lost about $500 million each year in potential sales of corn, wheat and other grains to Iran , Iraq, Sudan, Libya, North Korea and Cuba because of the sanctions.

Late last week, it was reported that Iran bought 300,000 metric tons of soft wheat from France.

In his letter, Lugar said Iran imported an average 4.45 million tons of wheat, 1.86 million tons of coarse grains, 543,000 tons of soymeal and 408,000 tons of soybean oil from 1994 to 1997.

"The U.S. is among the most competitive suppliers of each product," he said.

"At present, however, our farmers and exporters cannot sell these or any other farm goods to Iran ."


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