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Despite US sanctions, Iran goods pervade Iraq market

A merchant waits in his shop for customers to arrive and buy his carpets Iran, 21 November 2018 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]
A merchant waits in his shop for customers to arrive and buy his carpets Iran, 21 November 2018 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Despite US sanctions imposed on Iran, and Iraq declaring its commitment to these sanctions, Iranian goods are still dominating the Iraqi market. Iran announced that commercial exchange between the two countries has increased to about $10 billion.

US sanctions on Iran came into action in August 2018 and have since affected a number of Iran’s vital economic sectors, restricting foreign companies’ business in the country as a prelude to imposing sanctions on Iranian oil. In order to protect the country’s interests, Iraq declared it would abide by US sanctions imposed on Iran.

A number of Iraqi farmers and traders have complained about Iranian goods being poured into the Iraqi market, including fruits, vegetables, and especially tomatoes, despite the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture’s ban on importation.

“During tomato harvest, farmers in Iraq are suffering from heavy losses every year because of the Iranian fruits and vegetables supply, especially tomatoes, whose taste and colour is nothing compared to Iraqi tomatoes” said farmer Jassem Hussein, on behalf of many angry farmers protesting against the ongoing introduction of Iranian goods to Iraq’s market.

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“Zoubiria tomatoes, the so-called red oil, bring an important economic resource for thousands of farmers. Therefore, it is worth nothing compared to Iranian tomatoes sold for low prices in the market,” said Hussein during an interview with Al-Khaleej Online.

“Flooding the Iraqi market with fruits and vegetables during harvest season is a policy aiming to weaken the Iraqi economy and destroy Iraqi agriculture.”

This problem also extends beyond fruits and vegetables.

“The carpet trade in Iraq is a successful business for owners, especially in the winter season. However, this year the business was heavily influenced by the Iranian carpets’ dominance compared to other brands in Iraqi markets,” said Abdullah Al-Marsoumi, owner of several carpet import agencies in Iraq.

“After the US economic sanctions imposed on Iran, the carpet trade dominance has shifted from Iran to Turkey, and most merchants have been selling Turkish carpets as an alternative to Iran for fear of jeopardizing their money,” Al-Marsoumi said during an interview with Al-Khaleej Online.

Read: US says countries buying Iranian oil will be subject to sanctions

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