Russia's leading brewer Baltika is to begin selling beer into Iran - although the product will be non-alcoholic.

Iran's government has given the brewer, owned by Carlsberg and the UK's Scottish & Newcastle, permission to begin importing the product, the first shipment of which was sent last week. Alcohol sales are forbidden in Iran, a strict Muslim country.

"This is the same product Russian beer drinkers can see on the shop shelves of the Russia Federation. This same product will be supplied to the Islamic Republic of Iran," Baltika marketing director Igor Karpov said.

Baltika hopes to capture 20% of the Iranian market by the end of next year before venturing into similar markets.