Iran will leave the US behind by the end of 2013 and become the world\'s third largest cement exporter, media reports said. Iran is expected to export a total of 20 million tons of cement in 2013 which will make the country rank third after China and India, the Global Cement magazine wrote in its latest edition. Earlier this month, Head of Iran\'s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Hamid Safdel announced that the country\'s cement output experienced a remarkable increase after inauguration of several production plants in recent years, adding that Iran produced over 80 million tons of cement in the last Iranian year (ended March 20). Safdel said Iran is now self-reliant in meeting domestic needs to cement, and added, \"Some 80 million tons of cement were produced in Iran last year (ended March 20).\" He noted that Iran is currently the fourth cement producer in the world. Last month, a senior trade official announced that Iran\'s cement exports witnessed an eye-catching growth in the last Iranian year. \"Iran\'s cement exports touched 13.5 million tons in the one-year period showing a 38 percent increase last year,\" Iranian Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Vajihollah Ja\'fari said. He noted that Iran\'s cement industry is growing due to close cooperation between domestic industrialists and the government. Iran is among the 15 major mineral-rich countries of the world and exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 countries, including Iraq, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Afghanistan. \"Self-sufficiency in meeting the country\'s need to cement and increasing the cement output to above 70 million tons is an important achievement for Iran,\" Ja\'fari said. Iran is currently exporting cement to more than 24 countries despite the US-led western sanctions against Iran. The country\'s cement exports rose by 30 percent in 2012 as compared to 2011. Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Qatar were the main destinations for Iranian cement in 2012.