Yahoo News, via the Reuters feed: http://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-iran-importing-missile-grade-ore-germany-france-112933515.html
LONDON (Reuters) - Exploiting a loophole in Western sanctions, Iran is importing a high grade of refined alumina ore from several European countries including Germany and France that Tehran could be using to make armor parts and missile components.
Western measures imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program have hit many sectors of its economy including steel and other metals, where it is heavily dependent on imports. Tehran says its atomic work is peaceful.
The refined ore has been excluded from European Union sanctions, but tightened U.S. sanctions that came into effect on July 1 seek to close the loophole. According to a U.S. Treasury briefing, the latest measures will cover "raw or semi-finished metals" that include aluminum.
"After July 1, new sanctions will blacklist metals trade with Iran including aluminum, coal, steel, gold, silver and platinum amongst others, and should include alumina," said Mark Dubowitz, who has advised President Barack Obama's administration and U.S. lawmakers on sanctions.
Alumina is a refined version of the raw ore bauxite. It is typically used to make aluminum, but in its high purity or 'chemical grade' form, it has non-metal applications that have sensitive military uses.
Export data from independent firm Global Trade Information Services showed that between January 2012 and March 2013, around 4,000 metric tons of alumina had been sold to Iran mostly from Germany and France, but also from Slovenia, Italy, Hungary and Belgium.
More at link, mostly speculation.