Domestic Economy

Sanctions Relief Will Not Mean Unbridled Imports

Sanctions Relief Will Not Mean Unbridled ImportsSanctions Relief Will Not Mean Unbridled Imports

President Hassan Rouhani late on Sunday warned against the flooding of consumer goods imports once the sizable hard currency holdings are released by international banks in the process of sanctions relief.

Under the July 14 nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers – the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany – sanctions that have stifled Iran's economy for more than a decade are soon to be lifted in exchange for Tehran to limit its nuclear energy program. This would eventually lead to releasing billions of dollars of Iran’s frozen assets in international accounts.

While acknowledging that importation of certain goods such as agricultural products and equipment is essential, he said in a TV interview that if the opening of trade relations as a result of the nuclear agreement translates into imports of more consumer products, the nuclear deal will, in effect, have failed to achieve its goals for Iran.

Ever since the deal was reached and corporate giants began the rush to the Iranian market, authorities have made clear on several occasions that they are primarily interested in high-end investment and joint ventures, not asset grabs.

“Iran is not the same market as it was a decade ago because of technological advance in capability,” Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohamedreza Nematzadeh told an Iran-EU trade conference in Vienna last month. “We are looking for two-way trade as well as cooperation in development, design and engineering.”

As part of his Sunday interview, the president noted that he had emphasized in a meeting with France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius last week, that “after the sanctions are removed, Iran will welcome any country willing to bring capital and technology to cooperate with Iranian firms boost exports.”

He stressed that the new opportunities arising from sanctions removal must be utilized to create employment for the large population of educated Iranian youth, noting that Iran ranks fifth in the world in terms of the number of engineering graduates.

The president also touched on the objective of 8% economic growth envisioned by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in the general policies of the next five-year development plan (2016-2021) and said if 8% economic growth is achieved in the coming years, the  gross domestic product will grow 59% by 2025. “Sustaining this growth rate for the next 20 years would increase revenues 4.5 times,” he added.