Fars News Agency said in a report on Saturday that Rouhani had issued the decree after the cargo failed over 2,000 tests by the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), according to Press TV.
The ISIRI has announced that the corn is contaminated with aflatoxin, a highly dangerous poison produced by certain molds which can cause cancer. It has yet to be decided how and when the grains were infected and whether the contamination had originated in Brazil or the ship was to blame.
Rouhani’s decree came as a total of 17 Iranian companies who had imported the corn cargo from Brazil have been pressing for its release from Iran’s Imam Khomeini Port.
However, the ISIRI has made it clear that the contamination is well above normal, some five to seven times higher than the accepted risk levels. It says the corn should be disposed of as they cannot even be used for making ethanol.
The case comes less than a month after Iran warned Brazil that it will halt importing grains from the South American country if Brasilia decides to obey Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Tehran and stop refueling Iranian ships at its ports.
Brazil’s Supreme Court issued a verdict last month to dismiss an initial ruling which had banned supplying fuel to Iranian ships.
Iran is a major purchaser of grains and meat from Brazil, with government data putting the total value of annual imports from the country at over $2 billion.