Japan Falling Behind Rivals on Iran Business

Japan Falling Behind Rivals on Iran BusinessJapan Falling Behind Rivals on Iran Business

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said Japanese firms need to act more quickly to establish a position in the lucrative Iranian market, otherwise their international rivals would steal the march.

"Japanese companies will be left behind if they continue to waste time and fail to engage in serious competition with European, South Korean and Chinese rivals," Qasemi said in a meeting with Hiroki Sugita, managing senior writer at the Kyodo News Agency in Tehran on Tuesday.

Iran emerged from years of nuclear sanctions in January when the UN nuclear agency confirmed it has put in place temporary constraints on its nuclear program under a historic deal with major powers.

President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the action plan, hopes to capitalize on the momentum created in the absence of sanctions to push through his economic agenda by attracting foreign investment and technology.

Tehran has been complaining about the remaining US non-nuclear sanctions that have disrupted the highly-anticipated flow of foreign funds and technology into its ailing economy.

Residual US sanctions threaten to heavily penalize foreign banks that process Iran-related transactions through the US financial system as well as non-Iranian parties to such transactions.

***Strategic View to East

"Iran has a strategic view to the East and Asia, and it is the Japanese companies and authorities that should make up their minds [about partnering with Iranians]. Iran has no difficulty finding partners," IRNA quoted Qasemi as saying.

He described comments against the nuclear accord by US presidential candidates as "little more than campaign rhetoric".

"Typically after assuming office, politicians adopt different policies from what they promise during their electoral campaigns. The governments always adapt themselves to some extent with the realities on the ground," he said.

Qasemi reiterated Tehran's stance that it would respond to any violation of the deal by the American side. Sugita denied Korean media reports that a visit by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran had been cancelled, saying the premier will soon be leading a large economic delegation to Iran, without giving a specific date.

"Preparations are underway for Abe's trip," he said.