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HAMBURG Jan 17 (Reuters) - About 250,000 tonnes of German wheat will be shipped to Iran in January, another sign of Iran's large food purchases after a deal last year to relax Western sanctions, European traders said on Friday.
"The shipments show that a large volume of the wheat Iran bought in early December will be sourced in Germany," one trader said. "The purchases were also larger than previously thought."
Traders said on Dec. 5 that Iran's state grains buyer GTC purchased around 180,000 tonnes of wheat from the Baltic Sea region in a food buying spree after the relaxation of sanctions.
Iran was never barred from buying food under western sanctions imposed over the country's disputed nuclear programme, but European Union and U.S. financial measures made trade difficult for the past two years by hindering payments and shipping.
But the breakthrough deal between world powers and Iran in November will halt Iran's most sensitive nuclear activity and ease sanctions by the United States and the EU on some sectors of Iran's economy for an initial six-month period.
At least four bulk carriers are scheduled to load wheat for Iran in German ports in January, traders said.
"Iran was a leading customer for German wheat last season with over 1 million tonnes sold and it looks like Germany will take a large share of the new sales expected to take place this season as sanctions are relaxed," a trader said. "I expect more purchases by Iran of German wheat."
Iranian interests also purchased around 50,000 tonnes wheat from Kazakhstan on Jan 10. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by William Hardy)