Call for Regional Economic Coalition

Call for Regional Economic CoalitionCall for Regional Economic Coalition

A top economic official underscored the need for a framework for economic cooperation among Middle Eastern countries to help restore security to the conflict-ridden region.

"Forging an economic coalition is critical to the promotion of security and should be considered by all countries," Iran's Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Khazaei was quoted by IRNA as saying in an address to a recent security conference in Tehran.    

"Today, the issues of the economic and political security, economic development and bilateral and multilateral cooperation at the international level, particularly in West Asia, and the way economic relations [between regional countries] interact with the region's development are very important. Economic cooperation based on mutual interests can, without doubt, play a significant role in boosting stability, security and calm in the region."

Conflicts are raging in several countries across the Middle East, from Syria to Yemen, some of which have taken on an international dimension, drawing in regional and other powers.

"A multilateral cooperation should be formed among West Asian countries to create frameworks for economic interaction with a focus on promoting the anti-terror campaign… Regrettably, such cooperation is still lacking," said Khazaei, who also heads the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran. The government of President Hassan Rouhani has been struggling to collect dividends from a nuclear deal it brokered with the six power nations in July 2015 to accept temporary curbs on various aspects of Iran's nuclear program in return for relief from the sanctions targeting its key economic sectors.

Residual non-nuclear US sanctions ban dollar-denominated transactions with Iranian businesses using the US financial system.

Also, US President Donald Trump has adopted a harsh line toward the nuclear accord and the Islamic Republic and has used non-nuclear pretexts to slap a spate of fresh sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the Iranian economy.

Rouhani's government has launched efforts to counter the effect of the US sanctions by reassuring the deterred overseas firms and investors that it is safe to transact with Iranians.Those efforts include setting up an economic department in the Foreign Ministry tasked with coordinating Iran's economic activities abroad and promoting lucrative investment opportunities offered by the Iranian market that have remained untapped over the years of sanctions.

Elsewhere, asked about the role of the Foreign Ministry's newly-established economic office, Khazaei told reporters that it "can be a great help in developing Iran's economic interaction with other countries. It can also bolster our embassies' role."  


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