Iran set to ban consumer goods ‘symbolizing American presence’

Commerce minister said measures complie with letter from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to President Hassan Rouhani

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Iran is banning the entry of U.S. consumer goods, the commerce and industry minister said on Thursday, as the country prepares for a lifting of economic sanctions.

“In order to boost national production, it is necessary... to stop entry of American consumer goods and to prohibit products that symbolize the presence of the United States in the country,” Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh wrote on his ministry’s website.

The minister said the measure complies with a letter last month from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to President Hassan Rouhani calling for domestic production to be boosted.

Iran and world powers struck a landmark nuclear deal in July that will see a lifting of punishing economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

Nematzadeh’s announcement came a day after demonstrations across Iran marked the 36th anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by Islamist students, an act that plunged diplomatic relations with Washington into the deep freeze for decades.

Demonstrators gathered outside the former mission and across Iran for the “National Day of the Fight Against Global Arrogance” -- a term often used by Khamenei.

They held placards with slogans including “Down with USA” and “Down with Israel”.

Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi gave a fiery speech attacking US “atrocities” ranging from slavery and the treatment of American Indians to phone tapping and “the killing of 300,000 Iraqis”.

On Monday, a majority of Iranian legislators said the Islamic republic would not drop the “Death to America” slogan despite the nuclear deal.

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