A vendor displays a box of Iranian dates in Baghdad, Iraq March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily
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It isn't hard to find signs that Iran is winning a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Iraq."Haqiqat dates are now the best in Iraq," Mehdi Haqiqat, owner of Iranian firm Haqiqat Golden Dates, said by telephone. Three years ago, 20 percent of his dates were sold in Iraq, he said. Although Iran fought a war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988, it has a big head start over Saudi Arabia.Iran is now Iraq's top trade partner, with annual turnover of around $12 billion, according to an Iraqi official.Iraqi officials say it is impossible to tell how many foreign dates are sold in Iraq because they are brought in illegally.Iraqis' liking of Iranian dates was evident at a sprawling market outside Baghdad where traders were busy arranging colorful cartons of them in long rows. Some have given up on local dates because they make big profits selling Iranian ones.Iraq and Iran have signed $7 billion in contracts in techno-engineering services, the Iranian news agency IRNA said.
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