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New on Iran’s List of Crises: Contaminated Fruit and Vegetables

In recent weeks, the state media are increasingly highlighting an emerging problem, that along with the skyrocketing prices of food and livelihood, there is a serious drop in quality, sometimes towards dangerous mediums.

According to the state-run website Eghtesadnews on January 15, Ebrahim Raisi’s administration had imported lead-contaminated wheat from Russia and, despite being aware of the dangerous contagion, it has not returned the wheat, arguing that the silos were empty and eventually allowed them to be delivered to markets throughout the country.

Images and reports posted on social media indicate that the clerical regime, while raising the price of bread, is offering contaminated and unhygienic wheat, exposed to soil, wind, rain, and animals, to the market.

 “In recent weeks, the discovery of pollutants in some of Iran’s agricultural products made headlines and many countries have begun to return some of them to Iran. Meanwhile contaminated wheat from Russia recently arrived in our country and tests confirmed the contamination,” Eghtesadnews wrote.

According to the website, Mojgan Pourmoghim, head of the Quality and Control Laboratory from the Food and Drug Organization, confirmed the report, saying that the clearance permit was temporary and that it had been allowed to be cleared simply because the country’s wheat silos were empty. However, she stressed that the contaminated wheat has not yet entered the consumption cycle.

However, the state-run Tejarat News wrote: “Hours after the news of the contamination of imported wheat was reported by the media, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, head of the Iranian Food Industry Association, officially announced that the results of a retest of wheat showed that there was no contamination and that it was licensed for human consumption.”

According to the Tasnim news agency, run by the IRGC Quds Force, Reza Gheisipour, Director General of Standardization of Khuzestan Province, had sent a letter to the Director-General of Grain and Commercial Services of Khuzestan Province, approving the Russian wheat for public consumption.

Russia itself has recently returned a large shipment of Iranian bell peppers because it said Iran is not using Moscow’s approved contaminant.

In recent days, more and more countries are red-flagging Iranian products and sending them back to Iran.

On Monday, January 17, the Azerbaijan Food Security Agency announced that in recent months, three companies had imported 26 tons of bell peppers from Iran, which were later found to be infected with the Ruguz virus.

Also, India did not approve a large freight of Iranian kiwi due to the discovery of white particles on its skin and sent it back.

Previously, shipments of potatoes were returned to Iran from Uzbekistan, and in recent years, crops such as watermelon and raisins have been returned to Iran for this reason as well.

Fruit and vegetable traders in Iran have said that the return of the country’s exported agricultural products, along with reduced financial capacity, has led to a drop in fruit purchases.