MESOP NEWS Iran Daily: Tehran Frets Over European Investment

March 05 – 2017 – By Scott Lucas – eawolrdview – In another sign of concern over economic recovery and the pace of foreign investment after the July 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s State media is featuring a report that the “US government has thwarted many funding projects and deals…during the past months”.Interestingly, Press TV turned to Arab media — normally treated with disdain by Tehran’s State outlets — to cite disappointment over the lack of European investment and banking deals.

As soon as the implementation of the nuclear agreement was announced in January 2016, Iran began to hail the ties with Europe, with President Rouhani visiting France and Iran and European countries sending delegations to Tehran. Agreements were announced in sectors such as transport and energy, and the Islamic Republic headlined the deal to purchase 118 planes from France’s Airbus — later complemented by 80 from Boeing — reviving Iran’s passenger fleet.

However, many of the deals have failed to materialize. Iran’s banks still face problems because of Washington’s financial restrictions, making the finance of investment and trade difficult. The Airbus and Boeing deals appear to have stalled, with only a couple of smaller Airbus jets delivered to Tehran so far. The flagship Iran Petroleum Contracts to boost oil production have been hindered by internal wrangling as well as hesitancy of foreign companies.London-based Asharq al-Awsat summarized that European investors have given up on projects because of concerns over ongoing US sanctions through the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

One French banker said operations in Iran were held up after $15 billion in penalties imposed on BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, and Societe Generale Bank Jordan.

A German banker explained:  Most of the business visits by German, French and Swiss delegations to Tehran since the lifting of sanctions went in vain.There is a serious concern among huge western banks because they don’t want to take the risk.

The promise of economic revival is likely to be the leading issue in Iran’s Presidential election in May. Seeking a second term, Hassan Rouhani is hailing 5% growth and saying that it will be 6% next year, in part because of the impact of the nuclear deal. His hardline and conservative opponents, yet to agree on a challenger, are already declaring Rouhani’s failure over unemployment and claiming corruption among his inner circle.

TOP PHOTO: Iran’s Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia and Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel exchange economic agreements, October 2016