Iran Planning to Attract $8bln of Foreign Investment a Year

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – President Hassan Rouhani’s government is planning to annually attract an average of eight billion US dollars of foreign investment in the next four years, a cabinet minister said.

Iran Planning to Attract $8bln of Foreign Investment a Year

Speaking at the 19th Non-Oil Exports Promotion Conference, held on Friday in Tehran, Industries, Mines and Commerce Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh expressed hope that negotiations led by the country's foreign minister over lifting of western sanctions would bear fruit in the near future.

Planning for attraction of foreign investments must be the axis for the country’s industrial activities, he said, adding that foreign investments in advanced technologies and hi-tech field would be necessary.

Nematzadeh said that the development of the country’s electronic trade and telecom infrastructures would play a significant role in increasing the country’s exports, decreasing the production costs, and improving the business atmosphere.

He added, “The globalization issue and close interactions with other countries are inevitable and require planning and provision of the relevant structures as well as infrastructures.”

The Iranian Economy Ministry reported on August 28 that Iran managed to attract $25bln in foreign direct investment in the last eight years, despite the tough economic and financial sanctions imposed on the country.

Foreign direct investment in Iran during the past eight years was 25.1 billion US dollars, which is almost double the amount the country received in the other 27 years since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, part of a recently published report by the country's economy ministry read.

This came in the face of intensified sanctions on the country that coincided with the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who served as the country's president for two terms from 2005 to 2013. The total amount of FDI the country had attracted in the 1979-2005 period was only USD 12.9 billion, according to the report.

Also, a report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in June, indicated a 17.3% surge in foreign investment in Iran in 2012.

Foreign investment in Iran, as the report showed, went beyond $4.8bln in 2012, despite the global decrease in foreign investment over the same year.

Iran has made the development of non-oil exports a priority. The country has the advantage of a broad domestic industrial base, an educated and motivated workforce, cheap labor and energy resources and geographical location, which gives it access to Caspian markets, Persian Gulf states and countries to its east and west.

Iran has also huge potentials for attracting investment to its energy, and  sector which has been under US-led sanctions for years. The country has also enormous mineral resources such as coal, copper, iron, zinc and gold which can attract foreign investment.

Iran has set in motion its diplomatic apparatus to get the sanctions it has suffered for years lifted. The country's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also leads nuclear talks with major world powers, has said ,"We are willing to engage in negotiations. The United States also needs to do things very rapidly. One is to dismantle its illegal sanctions against Iran."

Zarif said Iran was willing to have its facilities visited by international inspectors to prove it was not seeking a nuclear bomb, an excuse abused by the US and the EU to impose tough sanctions against the country, that has affected almost all sectors of the country's economy.

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