A member of Iran’s Business Women’s Association has said that trade between Iran and Syria faces challenges, as “Syria has no money to buy Iranian merchandise”.
Layla Fathi told Iran’s ILNA news website has also complained about strict Syrian laws that restrict the ability of Iranian business people to conduct trade. She did not elaborate on what regulations prevent freer trade.
However, Fathi said that Syria has shortages of foreign currency and Iranian merchants have to wait a long time to get paid.
Iran’s trade before the Syrian civil war broke out was about $350 million a year; not a significant amount compared with Iran’s trade with other neighboring countries such as Iraq or Turkey. However, even that volume of trade has now declined to $250 million, according to Iran’s Chamber of Commerce. This of course excludes any direct Iranian government assistance in goods and oil, presumed to be exported to Syria for free or at very low prices.
Regarding trade with Iraq, Ms. Fathi told ILNA recent anti-Iran protests disrupted exports and imports with Iran’s second biggest trading partner. Some businesses were forced to stop trading with Iraq.
U.S. sanctions reimposed in 2018 have seriously disrupted Iran’s economic relations with the rest of the world. Oil exports which are a lifeline for Iran’s government and economy have been cut by almost 90 percent, depriving the country of vital foreign currency earnings.