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Economy, Foreign Trade

favorable balance of trade, Economic Cooperation Organization, direct trade, animal hides, Islamic states

In 1998 Iran exported 918 million barrels of crude oil per day. In the mid-1990s annual foreign currency revenues varied depending on the international price of oil; non-oil exports brought in $4 to $5 billion annually. Major non-oil exports include carpets, chemicals, steel, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, animal hides, textiles, copper, and caviar. The country’s leading purchasers are Japan, South Korea, Italy, South Africa, and Greece. Since the value of Iran's imports generally is less than the value of its exports, the country maintained a favorable balance of trade for most years between 1989 and 1997. Principal imports include machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, wheat, rice, live animals, and scientific instruments. Primary suppliers of imports are Germany, Japan, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Argentina, and South Korea.

Iran has had no direct trade with the United States since 1995, when the U.S. government banned all commercial and financial transactions between U.S. companies and Iranian public and private entities. The United States took this action because it believed Iran was planning to develop weapons of mass destruction and was supporting international terrorism. Iran is a founding member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Economic Cooperation Organization (an organization promoting economic and cultural cooperation among Islamic states).

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