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Backing the government’s policy of welcoming foreign investment for promoting Iran’s economic recovery, Prosecutor General Seyyed Ebrahim Raeesi said the judiciary is focusing efforts to protect foreign and domestic investors and create a safe environment for businesses.
“Security for investment in Iran has never been higher in the country’s history,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Raeesi’s statements echo those made by President Hassan Rouhani at a forum of business leaders in Rome last week, saying Iran is the safest and most stable country in the region for investment.
“Rules and regulations for investment in Iran are reliable. Iran has never failed to deliver on its promises to the world, neither has it ever breached the rules of other countries’ private sector,” said the president.
Raeesi added that the Administrative Court of Justice and General Inspection Organization of Iran are ready to resolve any complications facing investors.
Iran’s government is opening the country’s doors to foreign companies to promote its growing integration into the global economy. On January 25, President Rouhani visited Rome to kick off a European tour, where he met with French and Italian leaders and corporate chief executives such as Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne.
Major international companies are rushing to gain a foothold in Iran, as it reopens for business after the lifting of western sanctions.
Multibillion-dollar deals have already been announced in sectors such as construction, aviation and car manufacturing with companies, such as Airbus, Peugeot and Danieli.
Talks are also underway with dozens of other international majors that have signed provisional agreements with Iranian partners.
Raeesi said the judiciary is working to “streamline legal procedures” about foreign investment and its protection.
With a population of about 80 million and annual output of $400 billion, Iran is the biggest economy to rejoin the global trading system since the breakup of the Soviet Union over two decades ago.
The Rouhani administration is not going to let the opportunity slip. With oil prices at record lows, due to oversupply from major oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia, and low demand from China and Europe, his administration has had to cut the budget’s reliance on oil to a quarter of its total revenues.
Instead, the government aims to collect more taxes besides attracting foreign investments to fill the budget gaps.
President Rouhani recently submitted the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21) along with the budget for the next fiscal year (to begin March 20, 2016) to the parliament.
The plan outlines the Iranian government’s strategy until March 2021 to reach an 8% annual economic growth. The lofty target needs $30-50 billion in foreign investments.
According to Presidential Advisor Akbar Torkan, Iran will need $1 trillion to reach the growth target, two-thirds of which can be raised domestically, but to do so improvements in management and Iran’s “internal conditions” are necessary.
Experts opine that foreign investment can be attracted by streamlining business regulations and easing banking operations.
“The administration has a preference for direct investment as opposed to portfolio investment as that would lead to transfer of technology and expertise to Iran, which in turn boost productivity,” Torkan said.