Trading partners on alert as Vienna talks inch forward

February 19, 2022 - 21:28

TEHRAN – The stage seems to be set for a leap in Iran’s economic relations with many countries in the world, especially in light of the progress being made in the talks in Vienna. 

Many countries in the world are heeding the progress as an encouraging signal to brace for resumption, and in many cases strengthening, of trade ties with Iran. This is evident from the meetings between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and several foreign counterparts that was held on the sidelines of the 58th Munich Security Conference.

Many foreign ministers participating in the global gathering reiterated their countries’ will to boost economic transactions with Iran in anticipation of a deal in Vienna, which is now closer than ever, according to press reports and official remarks. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday that he expects a deal with Iran to be announced next week.

And according to press reports, meetings in Munich between the Iranian foreign minister and his foreign counterparts are expected to put the final touches on the deal. Sources familiar with the Vienna talks told Qatari newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that the talks between Amir Abdollahian and his E3 counterparts (Germany, Britain and France) during the Munich Security Conference would “constitute a very important, and perhaps final, station for the Vienna negotiations.”

The sources added that “the Vienna negotiations are awaiting what will result from the meetings between the Iranian foreign minister and some of his counterparts from the negotiating parties.”

The sources pointed out that the Munich conference “will witness indirect negotiations” between Amir Abdollahian and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, stressing that the negotiators in Vienna “are waiting for the resolution of the sensitive points of contention in Munich.”

These developments are not lost on economic operators who are willing to do business with Iran once the deal is announced.

Several foreign officials expressed interest in developing economic ties with Iran in their meetings with Amir Abdollahian. For instance, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar even voiced New Delhi’s readiness to “open a credit line for economic and trade cooperation,” according to an Iranian foreign ministry statement.

The Indian foreign minister said New Delhi was determined to forge closer cooperation with Tehran in oil, industrial, agricultural and trade domains.

Amir Abdollahian said he was planning to visit New Delhi at the earliest opportunity. The top Iranian diplomat expressed hope good agreements will be reached during that trip for enhancement of bilateral ties and consultations will be held on common issues of mutual interest at the regional level.

Trade issues were also on agenda of the meeting between Amir Abdollahian and his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan. In the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister pointed to the opening of a transit route connecting Iran to Armenia, and said the development was indicative of efforts by the two countries to maintain lasting neighborly relations. 

Mirzoyan once again invited Amir Abdollahian to visit Armenia and underlined Armenia’s desire to send delegations to Iran. 

“Armenia seeks serious follow-up of bilateral joint projects and in this regard, it is ready to dispatch economic, trade and technical delegations to Iran,” the Armenian foreign minister told his Iranian counterpart. 

Trade talks is not limited to Iran’s foreign ministry. Other relevant authorities are also working hard to bolster economic ties. An official with Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) has said that Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry is going to hold the 14th Iran-Uzbekistan Joint Economic Committee meeting in the coming days. 

Recently, an expert delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran consisting of banking and oil experts held talks in Seoul with South Korean officials and companies. The talks were widely seen as a preparation to resuming oil trade between Tehran and Seoul.

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