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Iranian Woman’s Crocodile Farm Snaps Back Against Sanctions

Mojgan Roostaei poses for a photograph with a taxidermic crocodile at her crocodile breeding farm on the Iranian island of Qeshm in the southern Persian Gulf on April 22, 2014. Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

QESHM ISLAND, Iran — Crocodile farming isn't the most obvious business opportunity in Iran. The wide-jawed reptiles aren't native to the country, their meat can't legally be served at home and they don't have the friendliest reputation.

That hasn't stopped one enterprising woman from sinking her teeth into a business that most Iranians would rather avoid.

Mojgan Roostaei's first-of-its-kind crocodile farm on this southern Persian Gulf island is one of the more eccentric examples of Iranians supporting the Islamic Republic's plan of pursuing an "economy of resistance," which aims to create jobs and counter biting sanctions by building up a broader range of exports.

"I wanted to go after a novel idea, something nobody has touched in Iran before," Roostaei, a zoologist by training, said while coddling and kissing one of the newborn crocs.

Government officials have taken notice, last year awarding Roostaei the title of "meritorious entrepreneur."

— The Associated Press