Iran fires its Dubai Expo boss for 'displaying pistachios'

Iranian exhibitions manager fired for 'displaying pistachios' at Dubai Expo
2 min read
05 January, 2022
Iran has sacked the managing director of its state-owned exhibition company after he was criticised for displaying agricultural products instead of 'scientific achievements' at the Dubai Expo 2020.
Dubai Expo 2020 is a major global trade fair in which 192 countries have taken part [Getty]

The managing director of the state-owned Iran International Exhibitions Company (IIEC) has been fired after widespread domestic criticism of Tehran's participation in the Dubai Expo 2020 event.

Iran's Trade Minister fired Hassan Zamani after he focused on displaying Iranian agricultural and food products - such as pistachios, caviar, and traditional sohan sweets - at the exhibition, instead of showcasing Iran's "space, nuclear, and medical achievements", the Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.

This, the news agency said, had led to a wave of criticism in Iran.

The Dubai Expo 2020 is a major global event that began in October 2021 in the UAE. The event was meant to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least 192 nations have taken part, but the exhibition was criticised by human rights groups who pointed out the UAE’s poor treatment of migrant workers and involvement in the Yemen war.

Others have criticised the UAE for its normalisation of relations with Israel.

Zamani responded to his detractors by saying that the exhibition - billed by its organisers as "the world's greatest cultural gathering" - was "not about industry".

"Space, nuclear, and medical achievements should be displayed elsewhere," the fired director said, adding that the Dubai Expo was "exclusively artistic and cultural".

Zamani had also been criticised for general mismanagement of Iran's presence at the exhibition, with Tasnim opining that the Iranian pavilions at the Dubai Expo did not adequately represent the country's products and exports.