A new moniker for the commercial street

Basra street gets new name thanks to Iranian peddlers

BASRA, August 9 — Basra’s Kuwait Street has a new moniker thanks to the growing number of Iranian street hawkers selling food and cosmetics on the busy commercial road.

“Ahwaz Street,” as it is now being called, references the Iranian city, Ahwaz, just across the border from Basra. The street sellers are primarily women, who bring over products that are popular inside Iran, such as natural hair oils, honey, and cleaning agents.

Um Ali, an Iranian vendor in Basra, told 964: “I am from Ahwaz in Iran, and I bring Iranian products like natural hair oils and other items to sell in Iraqi markets. Demand for Iranian products is high in Basra due to their reasonable prices and quality. We enter Iraq legally through the Shalamjah border crossing in Basra, with no taxes or fees, which makes our work here easier.”

Amal Mohammed, another Iranian vendor, shared: “I sell Iranian honey and its derivatives. I bring my merchandise from Iran to sell in Basra’s markets. The prices are very reasonable for Iraqis, but for us, they are quite expensive. Eight million Iranian rials equals 25,000 Iraqi dinars, and this amount is the salary of an employee in Iran.”

Amjad Hassan, a shopper from Basra, commented: “The famous Kuwait Street in the heart of Ashar district is now colloquially referred to by the locals as ‘Ahwaz Street’ due to the increasing number of vendors coming from southern Iran. The Iranians display their merchandise on the sidewalks of Kuwait Street, which is known for its affordable prices. Many Iranians are considering staying in Iraq for work due to the deteriorating economic situation in Iran and low income.”