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Australia partially bans exports bound for Iran

Australia imposed an immediate ban Tuesday on all goods exported to Iran except food and medical supplies, Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock announced. The ban, in support of US efforts to force the release of Americans held in Iran , covers all export contracts -- in contrast to European Economic Community sanctions, which apply only to contracts signed after the hostages were taken.

The embargo deprives Iran of Australian wool, textiles, iron, and machinery -- goods that amounted to $17.6 million in sales in the first seven months of this financial year. Sales of Australian meat and wheat to Iran totaled $82 million in the seven months to last January.

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Meanwhile, Iran sent a message to UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim saying the UN envoy scheduled to visit Tehran soon would not be allowed to discuss the US hostage crisis.

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