Iranians lift ban on Irish beef imposed due to BSE fears in 1996


The Iranian ban on Irish beef imports has been lifted and the trade will resume as soon as some minor technicalities are ironed out, Iran’s ambassador to Ireland told the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday.

The ban was imposed by the Iranian government in 1996 because of fears about the BSE infection at the time.

“The ban is lifted,” ambassador Hossein Panahiazar told the TDs and Senators on the all-party committee at Leinster House.

He also invited the committee, chaired by Fine Gael TD Pat Breen, to visit Iran and meet their parliamentary counterparts in Tehran. “I welcome the fact that Iran is about to lift the ban on Irish beef,” Mr Breen told the ambassador. He said the committee would discuss the invitation to visit Tehran.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on foreign affairs Brendan Smith said he understood the ban was lifted in principle last July but that certain technical matters delayed the implementation of that decision. The ambassador said the delay in resuming beef exports was “only a technical issue” between Iran and the Department of Agriculture.

Questioned by TDs Maureen O’Sullivan, Eric Byrne and Senator David Norris about executions in his country, the ambassador said: “Nearly all or most of them relate to drug-smugglers.” He said most of those who were subjected to capital punishment had been convicted of drug-smuggling – “which is not only our problem, it is a world problem”.