Austria, Czech Republic Already Forging Economic Ties with Iran, as Revolutionary Guard Gains LegitimacyTuesday, September 8th, 2015
(JNi.media) “On the invitation of President Hassan Rouhani, I will pay a visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from September 7-9, 2015,” wrote Austrian President Heinz Fischer, and news agency IRNA published every word. “A high-level political, economic, scientific and cultural delegation will accompany me,” the president added. “I am very much looking forward to my stay.”
Fischer noted that “Austria was honored to host the E3+3 negotiations in Vienna. I welcome the positive conclusion of the negotiations and the agreement on a ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.’ It shows that with persistence, goodwill and the readiness to compromise a good result for both sides can be achieved by way of diplomacy. I hope that the planned roadmap will be implemented by all sides, in every respect.”
After spending several paragraphs on a description of the Austrian-Iranian relationship that goes back to the 1850s, Fischer gets to the money shot: “During the ‘Iran-EU Conference, Trade and Investment’ organized by Iran on July 23-24, 2015 in Vienna, interesting investment opportunities have been presented,” he writes. “In preparation for my visit, Iranian and Austrian ministries have identified areas of a future cooperation. A roadmap will be worked out which will identify projects in the fields of energy, environmental technology, tourism, infrastructure, transportation, forestry and civil protection. Austrian companies are highly interested in joint ventures with Iranian companies in order to realize the great potential of the Iranian market as partners.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s Minister of Economic and Finance Ali Tayyebnia said in a meeting with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek on Monday that a roadmap for economic cooperation with the Czech republic will also be drawn up soon.
The Iranian minister underlined that grounds are prepared for foreign investment in Iran and Iran welcomes Czech investors’ presence in Iran’s market, IRNA reported.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has already taken Iran off a list of countries that draw special scrutiny from security agencies for providing visas. “Both the home ministry and the Prime Minister’s office are on the same page that no visa application will be delayed for more than one week primarily for business delegations coming to India even from countries like Iran and China,” a senior Indian government official told LiveMint on Monday. “Once an application comes to the home ministry for a security check, it will be processed within one week and sent back to Indian missions.”
In early August, Switzerland announced that it would lift some sanctions against Iran in what it called a sign of support for the agreement between Tehran and world powers over its nuclear program, Europe.eu reported in mid-August.
The same website suggests that one result of the recent deal with Iran is that dozens of companies with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, will also win sanctions relief. With roughly 125,000 military personnel including ground, air and naval forces, the Revolutionary Guard was established in 1979 to protect Iran’s Islamic system by preventing foreign interference, as well as coups by the military or by “deviant movements.” However, the Guard has also developed into a “multibillion-dollar business empire,” and is reportedly the “third-wealthiest organization in Iran.”
According to Reuters, about 90 current and former Guard officials, the IRGC itself, and firms conducting transactions for the IRGC will be taken off the sanctions lists by either the US, the EU or the UN.