New Economic Department Can Attract More Foreign Investment

New Economic Department Can Attract More Foreign Investment

Lawmakers said the newly established economic department in the Foreign Ministry could pave the way for the increased inflow of foreign investment into the country.
In a recent talk with ICANA, Mohammad Mahdi Boroumandi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said that "we need more foreign investment to solve the problems facing the country these days. [The economic department] can play a key role in this regard."
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif instituted new changes in Iran's diplomacy apparatus after taking the helm of the ministry for the second time in August.  
A great part of Zarif's first four years as foreign minister was dedicated to resolving Iran's nuclear dossier, a task that also engaged two of his key deputies, namely Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the former deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, and Abbas Araqchi, the deputy for legal and international affairs.
Those efforts yielded the historic nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in 2015 after years of negotiations. However, the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was met with some criticism by those who believed the agreement distracted much attention from the economy—a concern that even grew louder when the economic opening and relief expected to arrive by the implementation of the deal poorly materialized.

  Major Restructuring
Zarif decided to add an economic department in the Foreign Ministry when he presented his plans to lawmakers in August for a vote of confidence. The aim of the department was to help improve international economic ties and promote business opportunities his team had promised to bring about after JCPOA.
He later elaborated on some dimensions of the changes he had in mind. "In order to increase the agility of the Foreign Ministry's activities, it has been decided that our embassies and the headquarters will pay more attention to aiding the expansion and improvement of the country's economy. Based on this, we have decided to create a new [economy] department."
Additionally, Zarif said, "We will remove the three regional departments [handling European and American affairs, Arab and African affairs, and Asian and Pacific affairs] and establish a new political department instead. Our regional offices and embassies are obliged to work with all these departments."
Iran's Foreign Ministry had six departments which are now reduced to five when the changes, expected to be implemented by next month, are in place.
Boroumandi said the establishment of an economic department could boost the economic relations Iran has with many countries, in particular those that have potentially a good target market for Iranian goods and services.
He called on the Foreign Ministry to choose ambassadors who have high knowledge of economy in their credentials.
In the same vein, lawmaker Alireza Rahimi said the economic department highlighted the role of "agility" in government bodies, adding that "establishing of an economic department and merging three departments into one are in line with reaching such agility."
Reaching self-sufficiency and having a self-developing and outward-looking economy have been the buzzwords in Iran's economic sector in recent years.
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has put forward the idea of the "Resistance Economy" that aims to reduce reliance on oil revenues and develop a resilient, productive and export-based economy.
Rahimi said the new department would be instrumental in carrying out the guidelines of the Resistance Economy.
Speculation has been rife about who would take over the new department. Tasnim News Agency has named Gholamreza Ansari, Iranian ambassador to India, as a likely candidate to assume the role.
It has also reported that Abbas Araqchi will be the head of the political department as the nuclear deal will no longer be under the watch of legal and international affairs department.    


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