Iran’s Economic Diplomacy
By Mahmood Khaghani for Trend
Doubts over US President Donald Trump's decision to recertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal has created a situation in which global trade and business communities have agreed to start thinking to work together and set up a new line for trade and business relationships with Iran.
During a recent conference on Europe-Iran business in Zurich, the sides discussed progress as well as Iranian business community's interest in partnership with their non-Iranian counterparts for attracting foreign investment and developing trade.
The Education and Research Institute of Iran Chamber of Commerce and the Research Institute of Energy Management and Planning (RIEMP), affiliated with University of Tehran, have supported the Iran Commodity Trading Forum, which will take place in follow up of Zurich event on Oct. 24-26, 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland.
One Iranian businessman in Switzerland has said: “I was happy to hear that European officials are strongly standing against President Trump’s negative stance against the 5+1 nations’ agreement with Iran. It seems not only EU countries, but also other nations will show a tough and united front against any US re-imposition of any nuclear-related sanction on Iran, particularly, at a time that the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the 2015 agreement.”
Some European officials have also been quoted as privately saying that they are confident about EU countries’ ability to proceed with their trade and business relationships with Iran, despite a potential resumption of US penalties if Trump decides not to certify that Iran’s compliance with the deal on Oct. 12.
In response to a question from Al-Monitor about the impact of a possible return of US sanctions, Philippe Delleur, a senior vice president of the French train manufacturer Alstom, has said: “We should be able to continue to work.”
One Iranian businessman in Tehran believes the US business community needs to understand that unilateral US sanctions which were not lifted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and President Trump’s “Art of Bad Deals” have blocked the possibility for US and Iran business relations. On the other hand, European companies have been the chief beneficiaries of the agreement.
Commodity trade with Iran since JCPOA was signed has increased noticeably. Masoud Khansari, president of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, has been quoted by media as saying that Iranian trade with European Union members doubled in the first half of 2017, compared with the same period last year.
“The next four years will be the most suitable time for development of economic relations between Europe and Iran,” Khansari said at the fourth Europe-Iran Forum.
Amir Farhadi, head of Iran Portfolio at the International Research Networks (IRN), a UK-based company, says: “IRN has organized many events on Iran before and after JCPOA with its Iranian co-organizers. IRN is of the view that Iran geo-energy, geo-trade, geo-transportation (Silk Road) etc. between Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf has a major role to play in global economy. In fact the Iran Commodity Trade Forum on Oct. 24-26, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Iran Infrastructure & Construction Sector Forum on Nov. 28-30, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey, are planned to take place after Oct. 12 by co-organizers and sponsors to show that things have changed and all in the world will benefit through enhancing and improving their Economic Diplomacy with Iran.”
Mahmood Khaghani, now retired, has over 33 years of work experience at senior international positions of Iran's petroleum industry, including as the head of the Oil Ministry's Caspian Sea and Central Asia Department, as well as business development and joint ventures adviser of Iran's North Drilling Company. He was also the director for energy, minerals and environment at the ECO Secretariat in 1996-2000.