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Iran says bell pepper exports to Russia to resume soon

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 is in talks with Russia to lift a ban imposed on bell pepper imports.

Iranian agrifood authorities have announced that they are working with Russian counterparts to lift a controversial ban imposed in the country on imports of bell pepper from Iran.  

Head of Iran Plant Protection Organization (PPO) Kaykhosrow Chengelvaie said on Saturday that a sudden and uncoordinated change in the way Russia enforces its food safety standards on imported crops had caused the country to ban bell pepper imports from Iran in late November.

Chengelvaie said the four types of pesticides for which Russia has banned Iranian bell pepper shipments are legal types of pesticides that are commonly used in 120 countries around the world.

He said, however, that Russian authorities had suddenly banned crops containing the four pesticides without giving a prior notice to the Iranian authorities.

“These pesticides have been used in crops exported to Russia for the past several years. If there was to be a ban or restriction, it should have been announced in advance,” said the official.

Russia’s decision to return bell pepper shipments to Iran caused uproar in the Iranian media as agriculture authorities have been accused of failing to enforce proper safety standards on crops cultivated in the country.

However, Chengelvaie said Russia’s ban on bell pepper imports from Iran was as an isolated case, adding that the country imports over 0.7 million tons of agriculture products from Iran each year.

The official said that authorities in the two countries would soon reach an agreement to coordinate the safety standards used for screening food and agriculture products.

Chengelvaie said the PPO had also updated a list of pesticides allowed for cultivation of crops in Iran that are meant for export markets.

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