European, Asian states eager to broaden economic ties with Iran
Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Masoud Karbasian has separately met his counterparts from France, Denmark, India and Afghanistan as part of his trip to Washington, DC to attend the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Karbasian conferred with Bruno Le Maire, the recently-appointed French economy minister, who stressed the importance of sticking to the multilateral nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Noting that he is familiar with Iran as he has made several visits there in the past, the French minister emphasized that the administration of President Emmanuel Macron is intent on bolstering ties with the country, the Economy Ministry's official news portal reported.
Karbasian is in Washington as part of a high-ranking delegation, which also includes the Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif, to participate in the annual WB/IMF meetings running through Oct. 13-15.
Le Maire commended Iran's efforts in promoting financial transparency and the amplified supervision implemented on the banking system, calling for implementing international standards that will be key to nurturing further financial interactions with the world, including France.
Karbasian pointed out that Iran-France trade has been on the rise, adding that Iran is ready to work with the leading European nation in various fields.
The minister then sought to outline economic progress achieved by Iran, and referring to the significance of banking ties with France, hailed the correspondent banking ties that have already been reestablished and welcomed future finance coming from the western European nation.
In late September, it was announced that Bpifrance, France's state investment bank—which has no operations in the US and therefore is not exposed to possible fines for American sanctions breaches—will finance projects of French companies in Iran from 2018, granting up to €500 million ($592 million) in annual credits.
Boosting Financial Ties with Denmark
Accompanied by Mohammad Khazaei, director of the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance (OIETA), Karbasian spoke with Denmark's Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla to discuss ways of expanding bilateral relations and doing what is necessary to increase Danish credit lines for Iran.
Pointing to the extroverted and constructive approach of the Danish government, the Scandinavian minister said expansion of economic ties would be mutually beneficial and can be realized in the fields of energy, environment, infrastructure and management of water resources.
She also referred to agreements reached between Iran and Eksport Kredit Fonden, Denmark's Exim bank, calling it a good platform upon which future collaborations can be built.
On Sept. 22, shortly after Denmark's Danske Bank finalized a foreign finance agreement worth €500 million ($590 million) for Iran, EKF reached an agreement with OIETA.
Karbasian said that in light of Iran's strategic standing in the Middle East, economic and financial cooperation with Denmark could also lead to better ties with other nations in the region.
Bolstering Relations with India, Afghanistan
The Iranian economy minister also sat down with Arun Jaitley, his Indian counterpart, saying Tehran is ready to host Iran-India Economic Commission in early 2018 since the ministry he leads is in charge of the commission.
He elaborated on Iran's recent economic achievements, adding that employing the $450 million Indian line of credit to develop Chabahar Port and other joint ventures in railroads will help expand bilateral relations.
Resolving some financial issues and divesting certain projects to India "as an old, friendly and willing nation" were referred to as other signs of better India-Iran prospects by the official.
Jaitley reportedly welcomed the progress made in bettering Iran-India ties, while the two ministers also spoke about resolving banking issues as an important talking point.
In his discussions with Abdul Sattar Murad, the Afghan minister of economy, Karbasian stressed the importance of role played by the two neighbors in removing economic hurdles and the necessity of boosting ties.
Noting that hundreds of thousands of Afghan citizens currently reside in Iran, Karbasian sought to outline measures undertaken by Iran to assist them, especially those in the field of education for children and organizing trade deals by improving customs relations.
Both ministers also emphasized the importance of continuing bilateral cooperation in implementing railroad projects.
In conclusion, Karbasian pledged Iran's assistance to support Afghanistan to obtain loans from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.