Economy, Domestic Economy

Ireland to Consider Reopening Iran Embassy

Ireland to Consider Reopening Iran EmbassyIreland to Consider Reopening Iran Embassy

Plans to reopen an Irish Embassy in Tehran are likely to be discussed by the next government to cement trading ties with the Middle East’s second-largest economy.

“Ireland’s diplomatic network is subject to ongoing review to ensure that our resources are aligned with the greatest needs and opportunities,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan was quoted as saying by The Irish Times.

“In this context, I am very conscious of the political, economic and trade factors in favor of opening of a resident diplomatic mission in Iran with the primary aim of assisting Irish companies who wish to avail of the new trade opportunities now opening up there.”

Ireland had an embassy in Tehran until 2011, but it was closed as part of a wider reduction in diplomatic missions prompted by the financial crisis. Now the Irish government is targeting growth of 8% under a new development plan.

Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, state-agency Bord Bia and 17 Irish food companies took part in a trade mission to Tehran last week.

Bord Bia is Ireland’s trade development body promoting the sale of Irish food and horticulture products abroad. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is part of the government of Ireland and is led by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney.

The visit was aimed at increasing Ireland’s share in the Iranian food market following the removal of western sanctions against the Islamic Republic in mid-January. This was Ireland’s first trade mission to Iran after the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions.

“As the economy grows and demand for premium food products outstrips domestic supply, Iran is looking to countries like Ireland to supply high quality, safe and sustainably produced food,” said Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, ahead of the visit.

An Enterprise Ireland delegation will visit later this month to scope out possible tie-ups in healthcare, financial services and technology. Enterprise Ireland is an Irish state economic development agency focused on helping Irish-owned business deliver new export sales.

Iran-Ireland trade amounted to just under €4 billion last year with the single largest component being fizzy drink concentrate.