HAMBURG- Iran's Government Trading Corporation (GTC) is believed to have purchased milling wheat in a tender that closed on Thursday, European traders said on Friday.

Traders estimated that about 195,000 tonnes may have been purchased in three consignments of about 65,000 tonnes.

Shipment was sought in February and March, a rapid schedule that is believed to have reduced participation in the tender.

It was believed to be optional origin, with the seller expected to source from either Russia, Germany or other Baltic region countries.

The tender continues a period of heavy wheat purchasing by Iran in international markets.

Iran needs to import about 8 million tonnes of wheat after its crop was damaged by the worst drought in 50 years, Reuters reported in October. But western sanctions on Iran continue to make payment difficult, traders say. 

Iran bought about 240,000 tonnes of wheat last week, also expected to be sourced from Russia or Germany. This followed a purchase of 240,000 tonnes earlier in January and 740,000 tonnes bought in December. 

Neighbouring Turkey and Iraq, the crops of which also suffered from drought, have also been purchasing wheat recently in global markets.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan Editing by David Goodman ) ((; +49 172 671 36 54; Reuters Messaging: