USDA promotes increased trade with Iran despite opposition of the Trump White House

The US Department of Agriculture is promoting increased trade with Iran, despite the clear opposition of the Trump White House, American news website The Washington Free Beacon reported.

A July report released by USDA praises the Obama administration’s efforts to open trade with Iran following the landmark nuclear agreement that dropped major sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The report is being viewed by administration insiders and regional experts as the product of efforts by the former Obama administration to promote positive propaganda about Iran to boost support for the Iran deal.

These sources viewed the report as a sign that Trump administration agencies, including USDA and even the State Department, are taking increasingly rogue action contradicting official White House policy on a range of key issues.

The USDA report, which touts renewed prospects for trade between the United States and Iran in light of the Iran deal, outlines “the potential for new opportunities for US producers in the long run”.

The report further states that the nuclear deal is an opportunity to help Iran engage with international markets, including those in the United States, to sell products such as pistachios and caviar.

“One example of the JCPOA’s [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] possible effect on US producers relates to pistachios,” the report states. “With relaxed import restrictions from Iran, US producers potentially face new competition from the world’s largest pistachio producer and second largest pistachio exporter. Decades of sanctions and trade restrictions have pushed Iran out of the large US and European markets, but news reports have suggested that Iranian pistachio imports could resurge.”

“The lifting of the US import ban on Iranian agricultural products, including pistachios and caviar, [represents] a large new market for Iran’s most valuable export crops,” according to the USDA report. “Arguably as important, however, was the removal of certain US ‘secondary sanctions’, penalties levied on foreign persons and companies seeking to do business in Iran, particularly in its finance, banking, insurance, and energy sectors.”

The report noted that this significant change allows Iran to attract foreign investment, import equipment and adopt new technologies, all of which bear on Iran’s agricultural production and consumption.

The report further claims that the United States could face competition from Iran with regard to the pistachio market and urges the American market to brace for such a scenario.