London, Asharq Al-Awsat—With the Persian New Year just around the corner, Iranians are boycotting pistachios in protest against the soaring prices.
Traditionally, Iranians stock up on the popular snack to serve over the holiday season.
However, this year due to the high inflation rate and the dramatic fall of the Iranian rial—courtesy of the biting sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear program—the price of pistachios has doubled.
In an effort to stabilize prices the Iranian government ordered a six-month ban on exporting the popular nut.
Pistachios are among Iran’s top non-oil exports and are widely consumed at home, bringing in an average of USD 1.5 billion a year and providing work for hundreds of thousands of people. Iran was long the world’s largest pistachio exporter, with over 200,000 tons a year, but was surpassed last year by the United States.
First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told Iranian state TV last week that the ban is temporary and meant to help bring down the price of pistachios, which has doubled from about IRR 250,000 (USD 7) per kilogram.
However, the ban has not helped to stem escalating prices.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Pistachio farmers, along with other non-oil exporters, are taking advantage of the falling value of the Iranian rial, which is down by about 50 per cent since last year, to boost their overseas business in the region at the expense of domestic markets.