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Austria Seeks Broader Cooperation With SMEs

Austria Seeks Broader Cooperation With SMEs  Austria Seeks Broader Cooperation With SMEs
Austria is making efforts to find new solutions, including the use of blockchain technology, to maintain and expand bilateral financial and economic relations with Iran

Austria wants to expand cooperation with Iran, particularly in areas where small and medium-sized enterprises in both countries can implement joint projects and contribute to economic development, says the country’s ambassador in Tehran.

SMEs account for around 97% of all companies in Austria and there are a variety of options for collaboration with Iran, Stefan Scholz told IRNA in an interview published on Saturday.

The senior diplomat said Iran’s “resistance economy” —which calls for effective measures to make the economy more self-reliant — is a clever approach to turn threats into opportunities.

Pursuing guidelines outlined in this policy can help promote entrepreneurship and create employment opportunities, he added.

Decades of unjust economic sanctions imposed on Iran and the absence of big foreign companies in the country has paved the way for cooperation between Austrian and Iranian SMEs, the told the state news agency.

  US Credibility

Scholz said the unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has undermined its credibility, adding that Austria is seeking to help ensure that Iran will receive the economic benefits enshrined in the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.  

“Practical steps should be taken toward the preservation of effective financial channels and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas and petrochemical products and the presence of European companies, including Austrian firms.”

 

  Support Package

The envoy said the recent decision by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, to approve an €18 million support package for projects in support of sustainable economic and social development in Iran is in line with Europe’s efforts to expand trade with Tehran. As part of the package, the EU will support high-potential Iranian SMEs, the development of selected value chains and technical assistance to Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, according to the commission.

  New Solutions  

Scholz said in addition to the measures being taken by the EU, Austria is making efforts to find new solutions, including the use of blockchain technology, to maintain and expand bilateral financial and economic relations.  The diplomat added that he, along with representatives of Austrian firms, plan to produce a roadmap for joint cooperation with the involvement of Iranian provinces to demonstrate Vienna’s commitment to working with Iran in the long term.

Austria will keep encouraging investment in Iran despite foreign threats, he said, adding that his country’s efforts are “small” but “strategic” and can help improve the atmosphere of mistrust that has been imposed on the Islamic Republic from outside.

  Long-Standing Relations

President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Austria in July gave the message that Iran is determined to deepen its long-standing ties with the Central European state, he noted.  During the visit, Rouhani and his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Van der Bellen, underlined Tehran’s absolute right to benefit from the nuclear deal as it has remained committed to all its terms and conditions, Scholz added.

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