Dec 9, 2019, 7:07 PM
Journalist ID: 2382
News Code: 83587985
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Iran-Central Asia trade, limited opportunities but beneficial

Tehran, Dec 9, IRNA - Central Asia and Caucasus expert Bahram Amir Ahmadian says the countries of the region do not have much share in Iranian foreign trade, but expanding economic cooperation on platforms such as the exchange of national currency could be seen as a beneficial opportunity under the sanctions situation.

Central Asia is a vast landlocked neighborhood with no borders with high seas in the world, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

As one of the most important actors in the region and the southern neighbor of Central Asia, Iran has faced special issues and opportunities in relation to these countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran sought a constructive engagement with each of these countries in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union for the sake of its cultural, historical, and religious affiliation with the Central Asian countries. However, opportunities to expand cooperation with countries in the region have not been used for a variety of reasons. In this regard, IRNA interviewed Bahram Amir Ahmadian to discusses the current conditions and requirements of the Islamic Republic's foreign trade with Central Asian countries.

Central Asian opportunities under sanctions

At the beginning of the interview, Amir Ahmadian stated that due to the US sanctions against Iran, the economic activities of Iran in different areas under the US dominance is somewhat dim or is not possible. Due to bank sanctions, "we cannot have bank transactions with all countries and even if these countries are satisfied with the economic exchanges, with the sanctions there is virtually no trade exchange". In the current situation, Iran should deepen cooperation with its neighbors, which are geographically linked, because the Persian Gulf neighbors are close to the US government and do not want economic exchange with Iran and the development of economic exchanges with the Central Asian countries is an opportunity for our country.

Iran's cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union is central to "our country's foreign policy. Our country has been experimentally cooperating with the Eurasian Economic Union for three years since early November this year", and in the current situation has provided an opportunity to develop political and economic relations with Central Asian countries. Last year, "we succeeded in expanding our relations with our neighbors", with both Iraq and Turkey as Iran’s exporting destinations a good opportunity for economic prosperity was formed, and for the first time in "our country's trade balance", exports were more than imports. With more planning, "we can expand the export sector and be able" to counter the imposed sanctions.

The Eurasian expert highlighted that given "our country's domestic production, we may not be very successful in European markets, but in Central Asia, we can create a good market" for Iranian products. The Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade should focus most of its activities in the private sector and be able to conduct active trade with neighboring countries.

The key point is that in the event of an exchange with the national currencies of partners such as Russia, China and Turkey, the country's economic development and prosperity will be provided. This seems to be the case in the current state of business policy as well, with some successes and more work to be done. The relevant economic agencies should pursue their coordination within the foreign ministry's economic diplomacy framework and be able to work more closely with Central Asian countries. Dynamic exports and imports meet "our needs and contribute to our country's economic prosperity".

Barriers to economic exchanges between Iran and Central Asian countries

Referring to the barriers to Iran's economic exchanges with Central Asian countries, Ahmadian made said that there is little production diversity in this sector. "Our economy is not complementary" to that of Central Asian countries and cannot meet the needs of both sides. The needed advanced technologies cannot be purchased from the Central Asian market. "Our southern neighbor countries are not responsive to the needs of our domestic market" in the area of ​​economic exchange because like Iran they are exporters of energy and petroleum raw materials.

Despite the challenges of communication and economic cooperation and referring to the Central Asian market potential for Iran, the university professor noted that there are barriers to energy exports due to sanctions imposed on "our country and we can partially meet our needs from the Central Asian market, but we should not hope that all our needs will be met".

These countries have a small share of trade with Iran, for example, in Russia's economic exchanges Iran's share does not reach one percent. The rest of the countries outside Central Asia, including Turkey, have a large economy and can have good economic exchanges with ECO in the form of cooperation. Pakistan can partially meet our needs. Given the current conditions of "our country", the Central Asian market can partly provide the necessary commodities and contribute to the prosperity and development of the Iranian economy.

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