When the topic of tensions between Iran and the US arises in conversation, one would not necessarily think to bring up nuts.
The pistachio industry is one of the most recent victims in the most recent development between the two countries. Iran has been growing pistachios for thousands of years, whereas US farmers have only recently planted their strain of nuts in the 1930s. The western name ‘Pistachio’ is derived from ‘Pisteh’ which from Persian origin, meaning the green almond. The nuts are famous in Iran, mentioned in their native literature, beliefs, traditions and have a place in annual rituals and festivals.
However in the last 40 years, Iran has faced pressures from economic trade sanctions. Pistachios were not specifically mentioned on the list of sanctioned products, however restrictions of global banking meant that it was harder to trade these delicious treats. Iranian pistachios were able to undercut the US market by a significant amount. The drought in California in 2014 meant that their harvest suffered, and US prices soared from $3/lb to $5/lb, meaning Iran could undercut their prices by 0.20/lb regarding the Chinese market.
In 2016, things got easier for Iran. The ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ meant that Iran could export much easier. However, in a recent speech made by President Trump, he stated that the agreement gave Iran a ‘political and economic lifeline’, and decertified the agreement. This means that the sanctions placed on Iranian trade and products will most likely be reinstated, meaning Iran will once again be plunged into red tape when it comes.
But which tastes better? The nuts that are grown in the US and Pistachio are largely grown from the same strain, however Iran, unsurprisingly, claims that theirs tastes better.
Politics, Economics and HSPS students may want to think about the wider implactions of trade deals and sanctions.
Personally, I’m a fan of walnuts, but that’s a different story…