Iran seeks $45 bln in foreign investment

The Islamic Republic expects an economic breakthrough after the lifting of sanctions

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Iran’s economy minister said his country is seeking $45 billion in foreign investment following the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal with world powers last month.

Ali Tayebnia told reporters Saturday that Iran expects $15 billion in direct foreign investment alone in the next Iranian calendar year, which begins March 20.

The historic agreement brought about the lifting of international sanctions last month after the U.N. certified that Iran has met all its commitments to curb its nuclear activities under last summer’s accord.

Iran expects an economic breakthrough after the lifting of sanctions, which has allowed it to access overseas assets and sell crude oil more freely.

Iran already has access to more than $100 billion worth of frozen overseas assets and Iranian banks earlier this month were reconnected to SWIFT, a Belgian-based cooperative that handles wire transfers between financial institutions.

Tayebnia said Iran’s strategic location, political stability and population of 80 million has made the energy-rich Persian state into an attractive place for foreign investment.

“All these factors have led to a capacity to attract more than $45 billion in foreign financial resources for next year, with about $15 billion in direct foreign investment,” he told a press conference.

Tayebnia said Iran signed an agreement with Japan earlier this month for $10 billion in investments and is seeking similar deals with other nations.

Iran is now seeking to reduce reliance on oil revenues and move towards an economy that depends on taxation, tourism, agriculture and other sources of revenue. Attracting foreign investment is seen as a necessary must-do step towards that goal.

Tayebnia, however, said Iran welcomes foreign investment only if it leads to strengthening Iran’s economy.

“We won’t welcome any proposal that doesn’t lead to transfer of technology and capital (to Iran) or doesn’t boost production and exports,” he said.

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