Iran, Belgium ties at a new turning point

MNA|Maryam Azish:  The July 2015 Vienna Agreement and its implementation in January 2016 raised hopes in the Islamic Republic of Iran that there would be an urgent influx of foreign investment which would soon enhance the economic situation in that country.

The implementation of the historic nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has paved the ground for luring more foreign investment and a large number of foreign companies from different countries, European in particular, have voiced the willingness to made investment in Iran.

Iranian officials are facilitating the investment process in Iran aimed at attracting more investors because they believe that luring the domestic and foreign investments is considered as key for settling the country’s economic problems.

In an indication of fostering ties between Iran and the Europe, Belgian Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois heading a delegation traveled to Iran late October to amend cooperation between the two countries.

While in Iran, Bourgeois held talks with Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and took part in Iran-Belgium Trade conference attended by 200 representatives of 140 Belgian firms in Tehran.

Conditions for Trade Transactions

In a meeting with Belgian visiting minister, Nematzadeh said post-sanction era has created a proper conditions for development in Iran, the imports and exports activities in particular.

He also underscored that the two countries should focus on the long-term strategic cooperation, stressing the Iranian producers and industrialists are ready to employ the technical capabilities of the Belgian companies.

Emphasizing the need for removing the obstacles hindering expansion of cooperation, he said the Belgian side should facilitate trade exchange and develop banking cooperation to ease activities of their tradespersons.

For his part, Bourgeois said that 140 trade officials from the Belgian companies have accompanied him during the Tehran visit which is an indication of Belgium’s enthusiasm to broaden ties with Iran in different arenas.

Brussels, he said, attaches great importance to improving inter-banking relations as one of the Belgian banks has started cooperation with the Iranian banks.

Iran-Belgium Banking Cooperation

Speaking in Iran-Belgium Trade Conference, Bourgeois announced that despite some problems remaining in financial cooperation and investment in Iran, two Belgian banks have expressed readiness in this regard.

Bourgeois said that no contract has yet been inked between the countries but it is hoped that trade ties will be sustainable and long-term.

Bourgeois had earlier said on October 30 that Belgian trade office could be opened in Iran.

Speaking in same gathering, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and trade Mojtaba Khosro Taj underscored that Iran-Belgium trade exchange hit 300-400 million dollars per year and attempts should be made to boost the figure to over $1b.

Cooperation with Iran Valuable

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Flanders Investment and Trade Claire Tillekaerts said in Iran-Belgium Trade Conference that cooperation with Tehran is valuable for Brussels, adding Iran enjoys a suitable scientific capability and prestigious researches have been done in the Islamic Republic.

Tillekaerts expressed interest to develop cooperation in infrastructural, medical, clean technologies and tourism fields.

Touching upon the good relations between Iran and Belgium, saying that the trip aimed at bolstering economic cooperation which experienced fall due to the imposed sanctions on Iran.

Iran-Belgium Sign MoU on Trade Ties

Iran and three economic regions of Belgium inked a MoU in Tehran on trade cooperation.

The MoU aims to broaden scientific, technological and infrastructural cooperation between Iranian and Belgian firms.

The MoU has made a framework on developing investment and trade cooperation between the two countries.

New Chapter in Bilateral Cooperation

Back in August, President of the Senate of Belgium Christine Defraigne and her accompanying delegation traveled to Tehran for talks on expansion of bilateral relations with senior Iranian officials including Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani,  President Hassan Rouhani, Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Head of the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency Council Ali-Akbar Velayati, Presidential advisor and Head of the Woman and Family Affairs Center Shahindokht Molaverdi and Senior International Affairs Advisor of the Judiciary Chief and Secretary of the Human Rights Headquarters .

In a meeting with Defraigne, Larijani underscored that Iran and Belgium enjoy long-standing diplomatic ties and the two countries have had trade cooperation too, adding the visit of Belgian parliamentary delegation to Iran has opened a new chapter in bilateral cooperation.

The two sides also underlined expansion of parliamentary relations, activation of friendship group and establishment of foreign policy commissions, regional situation and menace of terrorism.

Defraigne said that the two countries have had long-standing ties in different fields of culture, economy and politics and now considering new situation the two states favor expansion of relations, adding the international cooperation is necessary for anti-terror fight ad in this concern constant exchange of information is very important.

She maintained that public diplomacy coupled with parliamentary diplomacy could have good function and Belgium intends to develop such relations.

Iran Wiliness to Develop Ties with EU

Talking to Defraigne, President Rouhani said Iran is ready to expand international, regional and bilateral cooperation with the European Union (EU) countries, including Belgium.

Referring to the positive role the EU played during the nuclear talks that led to July deal, Rouhani described the nuclear agreement as the start not the end of the way.

On Iran-Belgium relations, Rouhani said the opportunities created in the post sanctions era should be taken to develop bilateral cooperation in trade and economic fields.

There is no hindrance to widen Tehran-Brussels ties, said Rouhani, adding the two can plan for joint economic activities in the entire region.

Iran welcomes Belgian investors, entrepreneurs and private sectors for cooperation in the post sanctions conditions, he added.

For her part, the Belgian official said her country is willing to open new chapter in its relations with Iran.

Referring to Iran as a country that ensures security in the region, Defraigne appreciated Iran’s stance on fight with terrorism.

Defraigne also urged all sides to nuclear talks with Iran to do their best for removal of obstacles on the way of execution of JCPOA.

Defraigne called for expansion of Tehran-Brussels relations in all areas particularly pharmaceutical, medical and space.

All countries should be bound to their obligations to international agreements and Brushless will remind US officials that they should be committed to the nuclear deal with Iran, the official added.

Belgium will do its best to remove obstacles on the way of execution of JCPOA, Defraigne said.

Undoubtedly, the atmosphere created after the JCPOA is a good opportunity for the country’s exporters and producers to cooperate with foreign companies and the reputable brands.

Nobody can deny the positive effects created by the nuclear deal because it has provided safer and more secure ground for foreign countries to engage with in Iran, the Belgium in particular.