Sanc­tions gone, Iran kicks off EU trade drive in Poland

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Iran's for­eign min­is­ter kicked off an EU trade drive in Poland to­day, in one of Tehran's first moves to drum up busi­ness with the West af­ter the lift­ing of sanc­tions ear­lier this year.

Javad Zarif is also ex­pected to travel to EU mem­bers Fin­land, Swe­den before wind­ing up his trip in Latvia on June 2. "I'm con­vinced that our (War­saw) am­bas­sador's wish for our an­nual bi­lat­eral turnover to reach one bil­lion dol­lars will come true," Zarif told a joint press con­fer­ence with his Pol­ish coun­ter­part Wi­told Waszczykowski.

An­nual bi­lat­eral trade be­tween Poland and Iran has stood at around just $70 mil­lion (62 mil­lion euros) in re­cent years due to in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions over Iran's nu­clear pro­gramme.

Sanc­tions were lifted un­der the his­toric nu­clear deal that Iran signed with world pow­ers last year and which came into force in Jan­uary. Iran has since launched a cam­paign to boost trade, and ma­jor Western pow­ers said on May 20 that they back do­ing busi­ness with Tehran.

Trav­el­ling with a mostly pri­vate sec­tor Ira­nian busi­ness del­e­ga­tion in tow, Zarif is due to at­tend a Pol­ish-Ira­nian busi­ness fo­rum in War­saw on Mon­day.

"We've al­ways felt that Iran was part of the so­lu­tion, not part of the prob­lem," said Waszczykowski, a for­mer am­bas­sador to Tehran. "Af­ter years of marginal­i­sa­tion and even os­tracism, Iran is com­ing back to the in­ter­na­tional stage as an im­por­tant part­ner -- an im­por­tant player that will in­flu­ence pos­i­tive global so­lu­tions," Waszczykowski said.

Ear­lier the two min­is­ters signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing on bi­lat­eral po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion.

Zarif's ar­rival in War­saw comes just a week af­ter he in­sisted the US needed to take con­crete steps to en­cour­age in­vestors to en­gage with Tehran. De­spite the lift­ing of most sanc­tions, the US has main­tained those tar­get­ing Tehran's al­leged spon­sor­ship of armed move­ments in the Mid­dle East and its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gramme.

Euro­pean banks, which of­ten have sub­sidiaries on US soil, have there­fore been slow to re­sume busi­ness with Iran, fear­ing pros­e­cu­tion in the US.

But a joint state­ment by the United States, the Euro­pean Union, France, Bri­tain and Ger­many is­sued May 20 said for­eign banks and busi­nesses should not hold back from con­duct­ing le­gal busi­ness with Iran.

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