Persian Files ISSN 2975-0598 Volume 16 Issue 2
Author: Silvia Boltuc
The recent meeting between the Iranian ambassador in Rome and the managers of selected Italian companies underscores a significant potential for economic cooperation between the two parties. Tehran’s keen interest in attracting foreign investors and companies, particularly those from Italy, is palpable.
This development signals a notable shift in Iran’s foreign policy approach, reflecting a strategic effort to bolster its economic standing on the global stage. The Iranian leadership seems poised to tap into the expertise and resources that Italian companies can bring to key sectors of their economy.
This emerging dialogue could mark the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership, offering substantial opportunities for both Iran and Italy to enhance their economic interests and forge stronger diplomatic ties.
Iranian Ambassador’s Meeting with Italian Companies
On September 6th, 2023, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Rome, Mohammad-Reza Sabouri, met at his residence representatives of several Italian companies active in the hygiene and pharmaceutical, agricultural and food, mining, petrochemical, road construction and infrastructure industries.
During the meeting, the parties discussed problems relating to cooperation between the two countries and opportunities for Italian companies in the Iranian market.
Sabouri highlighted the potential for closer collaboration between Italy and Iran. He emphasised the most promising sector where Italian companies might invest or find a local partner for joint cooperation: energy, agriculture, tourism, as well as the hygiene and pharmaceutical industries.
Italian entrepreneurs have repeatedly shown interest in the huge unexplored Iranian market and its investment opportunities. The Iranian diplomat has demonstrated a very pragmatic approach in expressing his willingness to facilitate cooperation between Iranian and Italian companies compatibly with the limits imposed by the sanctions.
On the other hand, Italian managers accentuated Iran is a large and dynamic market that can provide various opportunities for foreign companies. Therefore, they are interested in cooperating with Tehran in various fields, hoping that they will be able to expand cooperation soon.
It should be recalled that, previously, during SpecialEurasia meeting with Sabouri, the Iranian diplomat underlined that Rome and Tehran have common interests and face common threats. Therefore, he believed that this condition might represent a good motivation for Rome to be more involved in collaborative projects with Tehran.
Since in foreign policy the Islamic Republic of Iran has an approach based on dialogue and constructive interaction based on mutual respect, Sabouri underlined the possible role that Italy or other countries might have to help Tehran achieve this goal.
The Iranian Market’s Possibilities in the Eurasian Geopolitical Chessboard
Despite the difficulties linked to the sanctions imposed by the West, the Iranian market has increasingly become an attractive pole for transit and transport corridors and investments from Eurasian countries.
From Central Asia to the Caucasus to India, all key players in the region are looking with interest in Iran and its strategic position. In addition, the Islamic Republic of Iran is rich in natural resources, not least gas, which could contribute importantly to Europe’s energy needs.
Its long coast on the Persian Gulf and the various ports located in the area allow the transport of goods and hydrocarbons also along maritime corridors, as the country has direct access to international waters.
To foster a profitable investment climate for international players, Iran has created several special economic zones and free trade-industrial zones and Tehran joined international organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS which should make it easier for the Islamic Republic to establish trade despite its exclusion from the SWIFT circuit.
Besides attracting investments in the Iranian industry, the country aims to establish itself as a destination for international tourism. With its approximately 1,650,000 square kilometres (over five times the size of Italy), Iran offers an incredible variety of landscapes and climates that could also attract European tourists and contribute to the rebirth of an economy under the pressure of Western sanctions in the last four decades.
In recent years, in fact, the Middle Eastern nation has promoted, in parallel with its geopolitical strategy, a cultural diplomacy that aims to raise awareness of the country’s millenary heritage, from ancient Persia to today’s Islamic Republic, passing through food and artistic expressions.
Among the strategic sectors of the Iranian economy there is also the agriculture, with excellent products such as pistachios which could represent an interesting item of Iranian exports to foreign markets.
The meeting between the Iranian ambassador and the Italian companies serves as a compelling testament to Italy’s potential as a pivotal Western nation poised for robust engagement with Iran on the economic, commercial, and cultural fronts within the European landscape.
While sanctions may cast a shadow over the trajectory of Rome-Tehran relations, it is imperative to recognise that Iran has consistently expressed its earnest desire to foster closer ties with Italy. This eagerness is evident in the realm of trade exchanges and investment opportunities.
Italy, situated at the crossroads of Europe and in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, might be a strategic partner for Iran in the Western context. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the best practices for enhancing cooperation between Iranian and Italian companies during a period marked by a changing multipolar world.
By actively meeting Italian enterprises and investors, Iran shows a pragmatic understanding of the transformative potential that such partnerships can yield.
Report in media partnership with Notizie Geopolitiche.
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