By Mahnaz Abdi

Private sector suggesting approaches to counter sanctions

September 29, 2018

The U.S.’s withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal and imposing fresh sanctions on the country has put Iran in a new economic condition and under the new condition the role that private sector can play to tackle the sanctions has come under the spotlight.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the country’s counting on the private sector in the new round of sanctions, saying, “If we are together, we will turn any threat into opportunity. Private sector can neutralize sanctions and make opportunities out of them.”

Also, Iran’s Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari who believes that private sector should be involved in the country’s economic activities under any circumstances is of the opinion that this sector’s capability should be benefitted to skirt the sanctions.

For example, as his deputy, Mehdi Karbasian, who is also the head of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), said in late June, cooperation between government and private sector in resolving the problems of steel chain of products expedites the implementation of projects and reduces the effects of sanctions.

Private sector’s role in achieving the target of annual steel production of 55 million tons by 2025 could not be ignored, the official noted.

Meanwhile, in July 1, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri announced that in a move to beat U.S. sanctions, Iran would let private companies to export crude oil.

Speaking in a ceremony to celebrate the national day of industry and mine, the official said that Iranian crude will be offered on the bourse and the private sector can export it.

The U.S. wants to cut Iran’s oil export, but everyone, with even a limited knowledge of international affairs, knows that such thing is impossible, Jahangiri asserted.

Besides all these emphases put by the government on the role of private sector to tackle the sanctions, this sector, for its part, is making any endeavor to reduce the effects of the U.S. unilateral sanctions against the Iranian economy.

As reported by IRIB on Saturday, Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIMA) Head Masoud Khansari has announced ten tactics suggested by the private sector to improve the country’s economic condition under the new round of sanctions and among these tactics establishment of a headquarters to counter sanctions is the most important one.

Khansari said: “As mentioned recently by the Supreme Leader, this headquarters should promote cooperation between the government and private sector to the highest level through setting up targeted mechanisms.”

He mentioned predicting the scenarios that the country may face under the sanctions, with focus on the case of falling oil exports, as the second tactic and preparing required plans for each scenario as the third one.

The fourth tactic is to set up mechanisms to prevent from any damage to the livelihood status of the first five vulnerable groups in society through paying direct subsidy or supply goods for them.

The fifth one is to rapidly and seriously return the foreign currency earned from exports of products specially petrochemicals and steel to the country’s economic sector and the sixth tactic is to supply feedstock to the petrochemical units based on the free market exchange rate.

Khansari referred to balancing the price of energy as the seventh tactic and providing the possibility of exporting gasoline and gasoil to the neighboring countries as the eight one.
Developing relations between Iranian private sector and the neighboring markets (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq) and strengthening trade with these countries is the ninth tactic, he added.

And finally, economizing on the expenses of government to reduce them to the least amount comes as the tenth tactic to counter the sanctions.
The TCCIMA head also put emphasis on adopting necessary approaches to control liquidity and establish banking discipline required under the new condition.

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