(Bloomberg) — Iran has a $3 billion credit with Turkey over natural gas it sold to its neighbor and may use it to import commercial and leisure ships, the state-run Fars news agency reported, citing an unidentified official.

Iranian officials have made a request for Turkey to supply ships instead of making conventional payments, Fars said. It wasn’t clear from the report whether the request was made to higher levels of the Iranian government, or to Turkey.

Iran previously sought to buy ships and tankers from China and India, the official said, according to Fars.

Tightening financial sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program have complicated payments to the Persian Gulf country. New U.S. sanctions that came into force last month aim to make buyers of Iranian oil, including China, India and Turkey, pay in their local currencies, with the funds kept in escrow accounts. Iran can use these only for locally sourced goods and services, in what will amount to barter arrangements.

- Ladane Nasseri, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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