BAGHDAD It isn’t hard to find signs that Iran is winning a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Iraq.

There are the Iraqi Shi’ite militia who have sworn allegiance to Iran and the politicians beholden to Tehran. There are the Iranian companies that make everything from Baghdad’s yellow taxis to the refrigerators and air conditioners that flood street markets.

And then there are the dates.

Iraq was once the world’s biggest producer of the sweet fruit. But decimated by years of neglect and the 1980-’88 war with Iran, production has declined to such an extent that imports are now banned to protect the local industry.

That has not stopped smugglers, particularly Iranian producers who hide their dates under cartons of other fruit.

Saudi Arabia is also a big producer but the Iranians have cornered the market.

It’s a blow to national pride, which some Iraqis see as emblematic of Iran’s growing hold on their country.

“Haqiqat dates are now the best in Iraq,” Mehdi Haqiqat, owner of Iranian firm Haqiqat Golden Dates, said by telephone.

Source: Voice of America

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BAGHDAD It isn't hard to find signs that Iran is winning a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Iraq.There are the Iraqi Shi'ite militia who have sworn allegiance to Iran and the politicians beholden to Tehran. There are the Iranian companies that make everything from Baghdad's yellow taxis to...