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Iran signs $300 mln deal to supply saffron to Qatar

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 will supply 200 tons of saffron to Qatar under a major deal signed between the two countries.

Iranian exporters have secured a $300 million deal to supply saffron to Qatar in what has been described as the world’s largest ever saffron export deal.

The official IRNA news agency said in a Monday report that traders from Iran and Qatar signed the deal earlier in the day in Doha in the presence of Qatar’s Finance Minister Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari and Iran’s ambassador to Qatar Hamid Reza Dehghani.

The report said Iran will supply 200 metric tons (mt) of saffron to Qatari customers under the deal, adding that a first shipment will be due in October.

Iran is the world’s top producer of saffron with more than 500 mt of output per year. However, direct exports to Europe have declined in recent years mainly because of American sanctions targeting Iran's access to banking services.

The export deal signed with Qatar will reroute a large part of Iranian saffron shipments from Afghanistan to Doha where businesses can re-export the spice to customers in the West.

The deal comes amid growing economic and political ties between Iran and Qatar. The two countries started to expand their relations in 2019 when Qatar came under a regional blockade by several Arab countries.

Iran has promised to offer full logistics support to Qatar as the Persian Gulf country prepares to host the World Cup 2022 tournament over November and December.

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