Iran Sanctions Affect Iraqi Tourism Industry

Normally thousands of Iranian tourists arrive in Karbala daily. But as Western sanctions on Iran hit, pilgrims are staying at home. And the ones that do come are not shopping. Karbala’s merchants say they’re facing financial ruin, according to this article from NIQASH.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

When textile merchant Fadel al-Bazzaz, ordered millions of Iraqi dinars worth of goods from China, he never expected that the rest of the world would cause him such a problem.

"I have a massive financial crisis,” al-Bazzaz, one of the longest established textile merchants in Karbala, said. “I imported goods worth millions of Iraqi dinars and I was hoping to sell these goods in Karbala, which has had a tourism boom with increased numbers of Iranian tourists coming to visit holy shrines.”

But with the recent economic sanctions imposed upon Iran by the US and European countries, as well as the boycott of Iranian oil imports and of the Iranian central bank, the value of the Iranian currency has plunged.

As news agency Bloomberg reported: “The sustained, global sanctions effort “has brought very substantial economic and financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” U.S. Undersecretary of Treasury David Cohen said in a speech in New York yesterday. That is reflected “most dramatically in its plummeting currency,” which has lost half its value since September, he said. It was a reference to the market rate that ordinary Iranians use to acquire a hard currency rather than the official rate.” The official rate has not actually moved much over the past few months but the unofficial rate certainly has.

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