Asian firms encouraged to invest in post-sanctions Iran

Asian firms encouraged to invest in post-sanctions Iran
Iran's central bank governor has been enticing Asian businesses to the country, with its post-sanctions GDP expected to rise by five percent over the next year.
2 min read
26 October, 2016
Asian investors have been encouraged to bring business to Tehran [AFP]
Post-sanction Iran is open for business.

The country's central bank governor Valiollah Seif has been encouraging Asian investors to consider bringing business into the country, now that nuclear-linked sanctions have been lifted.

Addressing a business seminar in Singapore, Seif said reforms put in place since President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013 helped restore economic stability, while the lifting of sanctions had put Iran's economy back on a global level.

"The lifting of sanctions has created unprecedented opportunities for investors," Seif said.

Iran's gross domestic product is expected to grow five percent this year and next, up from three percent over the past two years, he added.

Businessmen from Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Australia were encouraged to invest in Tehran, which signed a historic deal with western powers to end years of sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Other than oil and gas, investors can also seek opportunities in petrochemicals, steel, copper mining, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, aviation, machinery, tourism, infrastructure and information and communication technology, Seif said.

Seif cited Iran's $450 billion economy, skilled and educated workforce, 80 million population and cheap access to energy resources among the country's advantages.

Iran has the world's biggest gas reserves and the third largest oil reserves, he said.

Hossein Yaghoobi Myab, director-general for international affairs at the Iranian central bank, said at the meeting that since the lifting of sanctions, companies from China, Japan and South Korea had visited Iran.

"We have had a lot of negotiations. Some of them have actually led into concrete agreements and compacts with the Iranian side," he said, adding that there was still "a lot of potential" for further talks.

Last month, French car maker Renault announced it would start a new production plant in Iran.

Despite the lifting of sanctions, the United States and the European Union still impose penalties against Iran over its support for armed movements, ballistic missile programme and human rights record.

Iran provides financial and military support to Hizballah and Palestinian Islamist groups, considered by some Western countries as terrorist organisations.