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Iran Lifts Ban on Pistachio Exports After Criticism, Donya Says

The Iranian government lifted a six-month ban on the export of pistachio nuts that was introduced to curb price rises, Donya-e-Eqtesad reported, citing officials.

The ban, imposed last week, was lifted on condition that pistachios be made available to local consumers “at suitable prices,” deputy Commerce Minister Hamid Safdel said yesterday, the Tehran-based newspaper reported. Industry, Mines and Trade Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari earlier said that discussions with exporters were taking place to ensure the local market will be well supplied before Iranian new year celebrations in March, the report said.

Iran produces about 200,000 tons of pistachios annually of which 70 percent is destined for exports, said Mohsen Jalalpour, the head of the Iran Pistachio Association. The industry shouldn’t lose an important export market when only a fraction is consumed domestically, he said.

The government’s decision was “unprofessional” as the restrictions will project an unreliable image of Iran and strengthen the competition, Jalalpour said. Iran is battling a drop in value of its national currency and an inflation rate approaching 29 percent, partly because of U.S. and European Union sanctions against the Persian Gulf country over its nuclear program.

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