The Iranian government has lifted its ban on the importing of kinnow mandarins from Pakistan after a ban lasting almost three months.

Iran placed the ban in November after Pakistani exporters failed to comply with the country's quarantine requirements stating all kinnow imports must be shipped in refrigerated containers.

Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board chief operating officer Muhammad Iqbal told that the two countries had now sorted out the 'procedural difficulties' and exports could begin in earnest.

'Normally Iran takes around 35-40,000 tonnes of our kinnows but this season we're hoping for 50,000 tonnes plus,' Mr Iqbal said.

'Europe and the Ukraine prefer smaller fruit, but Iran likes medium to bigger sizes, and we've had some good larger-sized crops this year.

'The quality is also very high, because of the still weather, and bitterness is down.'

Iran is the destination for around one third of all Pakistan's kinnow exports, and the first shipment will arrive there within four or five days.

Around 100,000 tonnes of the fruit has already been shipped to Europe, Sri Lanka, Russia, Ukraine, Dubai and Asia.

This year Pakistani exporters set themselves the goal of shipping 200,000 tonnes of kinnows, and with the Iranian ban now lifted they are confident of achieving that target.