A Trip to Increase Iran's Friends in Europe

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ali Akbar Farazi
Economic Diplomacy Advisor to Secretary General of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture

As of today, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, will launch his five-day tour of four European countries, including Poland, Finland, Sweden and Latvia, which can be considered as the opening of a new chapter in development of political and economic relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and European countries. In addition to meetings with high-ranking political officials of these countries, Iran's foreign minister will also hold meetings with businesspeople and economic activists in these countries in order to both introduce Iran's investment advantages and opportunities and invite them to play a more active part in Iran subsequent to the conclusion of the country’s nuclear deal with the world powers, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A high-ranking trade and economic delegation with representatives from Iran's private sector as well as different industrial and economic sectors accompany Zarif during this trip. Therefore, it is clear that the most important objective of Zarif’s European tour is to discuss economic diplomacy and expansion of trade and economic relations between the two sides. This issue has been a focus of attention for Iran's President Hassan Rouhani since he took office and noted that the country’s diplomacy should be in line with its large-scale goals with the final outcome of boosting economic relations with other countries.

During recent years, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has spent a lot of time and energy on resolving the country’s nuclear issue and removing obstacles to expansion of Iran's relations with the world. Now, following the conclusion of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries and implementation of the JCPOA, there are necessary grounds and opportunities to take advantage of this positive atmosphere. At present, those obstacles which prevented Iran's economic advances in the past have been removed and many countries are eager to further develop their relations with Iran. However, the question that may preoccupy some people is why the Islamic Republic of Iran and its diplomatic apparatus are trying to boost political and economic relations with countries, which do not enjoy the same political and economic weight as Germany and France.

To answer this question, it should be noted that diplomacy is based on creating opportunities and expanding relations with all countries in the world. The four aforesaid countries, which will be visited by Zarif at this juncture, are members of the European Union. The European Union is not simply made up of big countries, but the vote of even a small country has the same value as the vote of a powerful and big country and all of its members have an equal say on various issues. All member states of the European Union are also member states of other institutions that are affiliated with the European Union and can play a role in different fields. This is why by expanding relations with these countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran can find more friends and allies in Europe and within influential European intuitions and, in other words, expansion of ties with these countries will enable Iran to have their positive vote at sensitive junctures.

The policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran at all junctures, especially during the post-JCPOA era, has been to develop relations with all countries, not just specific states. Of course, during past months Iran has taken adequate steps to improve and expand its relations with such powerful and important European countries as Germany, France and Britain. In line with this policy, foreign ministers and heads of these states have already visited Iran or high-ranking Iranian officials have paid visits to those countries. On the other hand, the nature of Iran's economic diplomacy calls on our country to take advantage of capacities of all countries in an effort to expand its relations with the international community and improve its ties with all countries.

Therefore, during his current visit to these four European countries, Zarif is being accompanied with a high-ranking economic and trade delegation consisting of 50 Iranian entrepreneurs, who are expected to engage in consultations with regard to expansion of Iran's cooperation with these countries, including in the fields of agriculture machinery, agriculture products, food industries, information and communication technology, and mineral products. Of course, available grounds for cooperation between Iran and these countries have been scrutinized since many months ago and a large number of delegations from these countries have traveled to Tehran and have held negotiations with the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture in order to lay grounds for the current visit.

Zarif’s European tour is expected to end in signing of memorandums of understanding between Iran and these countries and discussion of new topics for cooperation between the two sides. Therefore, I believe that Zarif’s visit to these four countries can open a new chapter in Iran's economic diplomacy, which should be taken as a good omen.

Key WordsIran, Friends, Europe, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Political Relations, Economic Relations, Germany, France, European Union, Britain, Agriculture, Industries, Information, Communication, Farazi

Source: Etemad Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

Link for Further Reading:

*Iran - Poland 540 Years of Diplomatic Relations

*Photo Credit: Mehr News

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