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Iranian lawmaker accuses Saudi Arabia of smuggling his country’s livestock

February 20, 2019 at 1:46 am

A sheep is weighed at a livestock market before being sold for Eid al-Adha celebrations in Tehran on 22 August 2018. [STR/AFP/Getty Images]

Iran lawmakers,  Hossein Ali Haji Delijani has accused Saudi Arabia of paying large sums of money to purchase Iranian cattle and sheep and smuggling them abroad via Iran’s southern and western borders.

Delijani said during a meeting of the Shura Council on Monday that “mediators are roaming the Iranian villages and cities to buy livestock and sheep at high prices and smuggle them abroad” adding that he had information that Saudi Arabia was financing the purchase and smuggling.

Semi-official Fars news agency reported that Delijani has asked to allocate a council session to discuss this issue in the presence of the ministers of security, agriculture and interior as well as the commander of the Iranian police forces because the issue represents “a great threat” to the country’s security.

Read: Iran blames Saudi Arabia, the UAE for last week’s border attack

The price of red meat in Iran has increased by 120 per cent since the beginning of 2019 compared to the same period of last year.

In an attempt to control the red meat prices, the Iranian government imported large quantities of meat and distributed it at a subsidized price. However, it did not succeed in reducing prices.

Since the US unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Iranian markets have been experiencing a surge in commodity prices, particularly essential commodities.