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Iran bans pistachio exports as sanctions bite

Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images file

A pistachio wholesaler shows his goods at his shop in Tehran in November 2006.

Iran has ordered a six-month ban on pistachio exports to try to control the price of the nut, which has doubled in the past month.

Pistachios are among Iran's top non-oil exports and widely consumed at home, bringing in an average of $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 on Friday that the ban is temporary and meant to help bring down the price of pistachios that doubled from about 250,000 Iranian rials per kilogram ($3.18 per pound).

Western sanctions over Iran's controversial nuclear program have slowed the country's economy and disrupted foreign trade.

The Associated Press

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