The Iran-Iraq border crossing at Shalamcheh. April 9, 2022

Protesters force the Iran-Iraq border crossing at Shalamcheh to reopen.

Iraq Opens Iran Border Post As Protestors Demand Cheap Food

4/11/2022

Iraqi authorities were forced Saturday by people to open the Shalamcheh border crossing to Iranian trucks without inspections or usual administrative processes.

The border crossing is north of Iran’s oil center Abadan and close to Iraq’s Basra province.

The move came after Iraqis stormed the crossing and removed barriers. With around a quarter of Iraq’s population below the poverty line − around double that in Basra province − and the Iranian rial relatively low, hundreds had gathered on the Iraqi side to protest against the authorities barring the import of competitively priced items including potatoes, tomato, eggplants and carrots.

Following the protests, an official in Iraq’s customs administration ordered staff to expedite procedures at the crossing for the entry of agricultural and food products.

Iran’s policy of subsidizing food products and gasoline has long encouraged their export to neighboring countries with higher prices, whether through ‘legitimate’ channels or smuggling. Iraq has just announced a new electronic system aimed at monitoring border trade, including at the five official crossings along its 1,600km frontier with Iran.

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