Iran bans Saudi imports as row deepens

Tehran announces ban on imports from Saudi Arabia, while Saudi groups call for boycott of Iranian products as row between two countries deepens

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, at Imam Hussein square, Tehran, Iran, January 4, 2016

Iran declared on Thursday that it is bannig the importation of goods from Saudi Arabia and Saudi groups called for a boycott of Iranian products as tensions between the two countries continue to mount.

Diplomatic relations between the two regional rival states were cut after the protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Sunday following the execution of a Shiite cleric as well as 46 others on “terrorism” charges in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The Iranian government said that it took the decision after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, according to state news agency IRNA.

It also announced that the Umrah ban for Iranians will continue, which was first imposed in April in response to an alleged sexual assault on two Iranians at a Saudi airport.

Muslims make Umrah pilgrimages to Mecca out of the Hajj season.

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Iran is small compared with the size of their economies.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said on Monday that his county will halt air traffic and trade links with Iran.

None of the few Saudi companies with interests in Iran have announced any changes yet.

Savola - the largest Saudi food products company, which earns some 13 percent of its total revenues from Iran - said on Tuesday that it plans to continue its investments there.

But consumer and business groups are calling for a boycott.

Saudi chamber of commerce leaders told local newspaper al-Riyadh that Saudi businesses should replace Iranian goods with alternatives from other Arab and Muslim countries.

They said that the trade boycott would cause little economic harm to the Kingdom, noting that imports from Iran mainly consist of pistachio nuts and pickles.

Consumer activist group Mogatah also urged Saudi businesses to remove Iranian goods from their shelves.

TRTWorld and agencies