President Rouhani will speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, as he seeks to stabilize an Iran economy damaged by mismanagement and sanctions in recent years.
Rouhani arrived on Wednesday, telling reporters, “Iran’s presence in the Davos meeting will be very effective in expressing the Islamic Republic’s views on economic issues as well as political, regional and international ideas.”
Beyond that rhetoric is the goal of renewing trade and foreign investment, in sectors such as energy. Iran’s oil exports have been halved since 2012, and production and development has been crippled by the withdrawal of overseas firms.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has been meeting representatives of foreign companies and Governments, with a visit to Turkey on Monday, in an attempt to revive investment.
Still, it looks like Rouhani’s impact may be limited — at least for the foreign audience — by the Syrian issue. Iran’s main English-language outlet, Press TV, puts the President aside this morning in favor of four stories about the opening of the Geneva II conference near Davos.
Iran was invited on Sunday to the conference on the Syrian conflict by the United Nations, but the invitation was withdrawn a day later after objections by the Syrian opposition and the US.
Rouhani appeared to dismiss the gathering on Wednesday, telling reporters, “The facts show us that this conference could not be effective in establishing stability in Syria.”
Easing of Sanctions Reduces Price of Imported Cars
The head of the Automobile Showrooms and Dealers Union has pointed to an immediate benefit of the implementation of the interim nuclear agreement, saying the lifting of sanctions on the auto industry have reduced the price of imported cars by 60 million rials (about $2000).
Hassan Zamani Afshar said if the implementation continues, prices will drop even farther.
US Confirms Iranian Expectation of Nuclear Talks in Mid-February
US officials have confirmed Iranian statements that talks on a comprehensive nuclear agreement will begin by mid-February.
The discussions followed November’s interim nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers. Implementation of the deal, including suspension of enrichment of 20% uranium and an easing of sanctions on Tehran, began on Monday.
The officials from the State Department and Treasury told Congressional aides that the US and its partners are currently consulting about next steps in the nuclear talks.
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