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The global angle on pistachios

Yasha Levine reports on an interesting correlation between Stewart Resnick’s pistachio empire and economic sanctions against Iran, which used to be the world’s main producer of pistachios.

Says Levine:

Economic sanctions against Iran were renewed and intensified under every single president after Carter, and all the while America’s domestic pistachio farming exploded. In the past thirty years it has grown from a couple of hobby farmers to an industry generating close to $1 billion. And the Resnicks have a near monopoly on the trade. Today, Resnicks’ Paramount Farming is the country’s largest grower, processor and marketer of pistachios, controlling something like 60 percent of the industry. Pistachios are very important to the Resnicks, bringing in at least 20% of their agricultural revenue.

Economic sanctions are what have allowed the Resnicks to create their pistachio empire, which would suffer a severe blow if relations with Iran were ever normalized. Iran’s pistachios are considered to be superior to America’s, so much so that Israelis still buy Iranian pistachios shipped in through Turkey. Surely the Resnicks would never be able to compete with Iran on the pistachio free market.

Levine writes that to maintain their global dominance of pistachios, the Resnicks began funneling money to think tanks and political advocacy groups that take a hardline approach with Iran. “Economic sanctions, sabotage, vilification—all these things worked in the Resnicks’ interest.”

Never underestimate the willingness of men like Resnick to exploit global instability for private gain. His work in this arena resembles his funded work to blame the collapse of Delta fisheries on Striped Bass, all as a way to deflect the truth on how Delta water exports have brought the Delta to the point of collapse.

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