clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How the Saffron Trade Helps Criminals Smuggle Wealth Out of Iran

It's the second episode of Zero Point Zero's Food Crimes.

Here's the second episode of Food Crimes, the new investigative documentary web series from Zero Point Zero. Where the first episode explored the illegal seafood trade, the latest installment in this series from the production company behind Anthony Bourdain's CNN series Parts Unknown goes deep inside the world of saffron.

The episode kicks off with a telling quote, noting that saffron is only one of a few things — like gold and diamonds — that has retained its value for thousands of years. Saffron is the world's most valuable spice, but per Food Republic, Food Crimes delves into the substance's status as "a lesser-known commodity tied up in the nuclear-armament dealings between the United States, its allies at the United Nations and the ostracized outlier Iran, which produces the vast majority of the planet’s saffron." The seventeen-minute episode likens the substance to illegal drugs in some ways, noting that it's a popular way to launder money and smuggle wealth out of Iran.

There will be more episodes of Food Crimes; while the subjects of upcoming episodes haven't yet been released, the producers have promised there will be plenty of world travel involved.