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Mobile phone high on Iran’s import list in March-November at $2.5bn

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran imported $2.5 billion worth of mobile phones in the eight months to November 21.

Mobile phone shipments have accounted for a major part of Iran’s imports this year as they came top on the list of the country’s imports in March-November.

The IRIB News said in a report on Wednesday that mobile phone imports had topped $2.5 billion in value terms in the eight months to November 21, accounting for 8% of the total imports into Iran over the same period.

It said the figure was an increase of 111% compared to the similar period in 2020, adding that mobile phone shipments had increased by 47% in volume terms year on year in March-November.

Mobile phone remained far ahead of other major goods on Iran’s import list over the period, said the report, adding that the second item on the list was corn for which Iran had spent $2 billion between late March and late November.

Figures by the Iranian customs office IRICA showed that mobile phone shipments had accounted for 4.5% of the value of all imports recorded by the office over the calendar month to November 21 at $375 million.

That comes as total wheat imports into Iran over the same period had reached $261 million while corn imports had topped $187 million, according to IRICA figures.

Increasing imports of cellphones into Iran comes at a time the country has problems financing and paying for purchases of basic goods and staples mainly because of a series of American bans that have hampered the country’s ability to access international banking services.

The US bans have also hampered the ability of the Iranian mobile phone manufacturers to access the machinery and technology needed to upgrade their products.  

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