The direct trade of Persia with the United Kingdom in each of the last five years was as follows, according to the Board of Trade returns : —
Imports into U.K.
from Persia . Exports of British
produce to Persia
£ 119,001 251,751
£ 206,918 323,772
£ 147,129 273,786
The direct imports from Persia into Great Britain in 1897 consisted mainly of opium, valued at 28,799Z. ; shells, 44,713Z. ; wool, 51,389Z. ; fruit 14,558Z. ; gum, 13,193Z. ; woollen manufactures, 16,770Z. Cotton goods, of the value of 332,693^. copper (wrought and unwrought), 15,916^., and arms and ammunition, 44,917^., were the staple articles of British export to Persia in 1897.
Money and Credit.
The Shah in 1889 granted a concession to Baron Julius de Renter for the formation of an Imperial Bank of Persia, wdth head office at Teheran and branches in the chief cities. The bank was formed in the autumn of the same year, and incorporated by Royal Charter granted by H.M. the Queen, and dated September 2, 1889. The authorised capital is 4 millions sterling, which may be increased. The bank started with a capital of one million sterling, of which the greater part was remitted to Persia at the then reigning exchange of 32-34. In consequence of the great fall in .silver and the rise in the exchange, to 50 or more, the capital was reduced in December 1894, to 650,000Z. The bank has the exclusive right of issuing bank-notes — not exceeding 800,000^. without the assent of the Persian Government. The issue of notes shall be at first on the basis of the silver kran. The coin in reserve for two years must be 50 per cent., aftenvards 33 per cent. The bank has the exclusive right of working throughout the Empire the iron, copper, lead, mercury, coal, petroleum, manganese, borax, and asbestos mines, not already conceded. It started business in Persia in October 1889, in April 1890 took over the Persian business of the New Oriental Bank Corporation (London), which had established branches and agencies in Persia in the summer of 1888, and now has branches at Tabriz, Resht, Meshed, Ispahan, Yezd, Shiraz, Bushire, and Bombay ; and agencies at several other towns. The mining rights have been ceded to the Persian Bank Mining Rights Corporation, Limited, which was formed in April 1890, and went into liquidation in January, 1894. There are also established at Teheran the Russian ' Banque des Prets de Perse,' and a branch of the Russian ' Banque de Commerce de Moscou.'
A small railway from Teheran to Shah Abdul-azim (six miles) was opened in July, 1888. Another from Mahmiidabad on the Caspian to Barfurush and Amol (twenty miles) was commenced, but has been abandoned. The former is in the hands of a Belgian company, ' Society des chemins de fer et tramways de Perse ' ; the latter was a private undertaking by a Persian merchant. The river Karun at the head of the Persian Gulf has been opened to foreign navigation as far as Ahwaz, and Messrs. Lynch Brothers are running a steamer on it once a fortnight, with a subsidy from the British Government. In virtue of a concession to a Persian subject, Messrs. Lynch have obtained