News 27 June 2018

Iran to ban imports of 1,400 items

In the face of sanctions reimposed by the United States, and the plummeting value of the rial (the national currency), Iran is to impose an import ban on 1,400 items which it says can be produced indigenously.

National media, including the Financial Tribune and Tehran Times report that the move has been made by Industries and Trade Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, and that prohibited imports include home appliances, textile products, footwear and leather items, as well as furniture, healthcare goods, and some machinery.

Observers suggest that the threat of renewed sanctions is nudging Tehran toward a ‘resistance economy’ as it strives toward enhanced self-sufficiency and maintains foreign exchange reserves.

The rial, which traded at around 42,000 to the dollar at the end of 2017, has fallen to around 90,000, precipitating capital flight – and demonstrations in Tehran’s bazaar, where traders are protesting against the increased cost of imports.

The US administration is demanding that its allies cut imports of Iranian oil from November, which will put further pressure on the Iranian economy. News agencies are reporting that Japan is in talks with the United States with a view to gaining an exemption to enable it to purchase Iranian oil which is said to account for 5% of the country’s imports.