Hostile rhetoric no barrier to Iran-US trade
Guardian of London / Robert Tait

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad oversaw rapid rise in US imports in the face of George Bush's calls for nuclear sanctions

Trade between the US and Iran soared during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first term in office, figures show.

As national leaders they were sworn enemies, but when it came to buying and selling, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George Bush were strictly business.

Official figures reveal that trade between Iran and the US rose by nearly 600% during Ahmadinejad's first four-year term, just as hostile rhetoric between the two countries was reaching fever pitch.

Contradicting his confrontational anti-western policies, the Iranian president oversaw a rapid increase in American imports – including a rise in the purchase of bull semen.

The pattern also confounded Bush's depiction of Iran as a member of the "axis of evil". Ironically, trade has fallen drastically since Bush vacated the White House for Barack Obama, despite the latter's pledge to pursue engagement with Iran.

According to the Tehran chamber of commerce, Iran bought $563m (£356m) of goods from the US last year, up from $98m in the year after Ahmadinejad's 2005 election.

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