Turkish firms rushing to Iran to grab slice of post-sanction opportunities: Business representative
AFP PhotoThe first countries to seize business opportunities in Iran will secure the best advantages, according to the vice chairman of Turkish-Iranian Business Council at the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK), who says an increasing number of Turkish companies are seeking to invest in Iran despite U.S. warnings.
“Since Western powers reached an interim deal with Tehran, new business opportunities have begun to emerge in Iran,” Bilgin Aygün told Anadolu Agency.
“The first countries to seize business opportunities in Iran will come out ahead,” he said, dubbing the timing of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s two-day Tehran visit in January an “important step” in this regard.
In November, world powers and Iran agreed to an interim agreement that provides the latter with limited sanctions relief while curtailing certain aspects of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, which might eventually result in the removal of all sanctions.
However, the U.S. has warned companies against doing business with Iran, after a large trade delegation representing more than 100 French companies travelled to Tehran last week.
Speaking during a meeting with French President Frençois Hollande on Feb. 11, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. would come down “like a ton of bricks” on companies that breach sanctions against Iran.
Aygun argued that Turkish companies were doing business in Iran and developing strong trade ties even before the nuclear negotiations started between Tehran and world powers.
“Many Turkish businessmen told me they want to invest in Iran after Erdoğan’s visit,” he said, stressing that Iran is one of richest oil and gas countries in the world.
In an attempt to increase Turkey’s trade volume, Erdoğan visited Tehran in January, when both sides signed a cooperation agreement to form a joint trade committee.
“I hope 2014 will be a milestone year for both countries and that we reach a $30 billion trade volume by the end of 2015,” Erdoğan said on the visit.
The trade volume between the two countries decreased to $13.5 billion in sanctions-restricted 2013, from $21.8 billion in 2012.