Sanctions Pushing Iranian Economy to Look to East

A03210734.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – The absence of UK and European business with Iran will see the country’s trade orientation shift toward the East, with western products being increasingly replaced by Chinese imports, an Iranian official said.

Mohammad Nahavandian, president of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce for Industries and Mines, made the comments at a gathering of UK and Iranian businessmen at the Middle East Association in London late Thursday, Dow Jones website reported.

He said Iranian trade with the UK was between $1 and $2 bln a year, while Iran’s annual trade volume stood at $120 bln.

Highlighting a US move to discourage international banks from dealing with Iran, he said, “You can’t solve political problems by creating economic ones.” He added that some actions and reactions have gone beyond what UN resolutions have sought.

Referring to security council sanctions, he insisted that Iran has been the victim of “myopic” policies.

The UN security council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment while a third package is currently being considered by the security council.

Answering a question about investment opportunities in Iran’s energy sector Nahavandian said, blns of dollars are needed for projects including the building of petrochemical plants, power stations and refineries.

He also said the Iranian government has taken significant steps to open up the economy and make investment easier by adopting a flat rate tax policy and the implementation of a law that will see 80% of the public sector shifted to the private sector.

Nahavandian insisted the Iranian economy is in good health, despite economic sanctions, adding that the country’s non-oil export revenue has reached $20 bln.

He encouraged UK business and industry to use their experience and expertise in the services industry to gain a foothold in Iran’s growing economy.

Missed opportunities by UK and European businesses will be filled by emerging market countries with newly gained capital clout, he said.

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