According to your 10-year plan, what role should the private sector play in the development of the Iranian economy?
After the signing of the JCPOA, all the countries showed their interest in reconnecting with Iran. At the same time, we were interested in connecting with the international economy. We learnt a great deal during the sanctions period, and low oil prices also convinced us of the necessity of changing our patterns toward a stronger private sector. In the foreseeable future, our economy will enter a new phase where all the development will be led by the private sector. The next 10 years will be very different from the previous 10, and we have many plans for venture capital projects across many sectors, such as agriculture and tourism.
What is the importance of attracting foreign investment to achieve 5% GDP growth?
Last year we had 5% growth only in the agriculture sector without any foreign investment. We also saw 4% growth in the oil and gas sector. But if we consider the unemployment rate in Iran, accounting for two and a half million to three million people, we have to reach more than 8% GDP growth this year to create enough jobs. In order to achieve this milestone, we have to absorb investment from abroad. Approximately 200 delegations have come to this chamber during the last few years. After visiting President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz in Brussels, he raised three points that are important to attract this investment, especially from Europe. First, he said Iran is not a consuming country and foreign companies have to invest in Iran by transferring technology making joint ventures. Secondly, Iran is not only a country with 80 million people; it is within a region of 400 million people and has great influence in those markets. Finally, he said all the agreements and MoUs that were signed earlier should be renewed and restarted in order to improve relations with Iran.
How does the chamber cooperate with the government and parliament to promote trade?
We have strong links with the public sector, the judiciary, and also parliament. We have to create procedures and transmit all the needs and difficulties of the private sector to the parliament and the government. We are a side of the government. Some members of the parliament come to the chamber and we discuss the private sector and the needs of the Iranian economy.
What role can Iran play in the international market?
When you look globally and focus on resources, population, history, and culture, Iran is a leader among all the countries in all sectors. Iran has had a deep influence on the history of humanity. Considering the power of our economy and our human resources, we have a leading position in the region as a transit hub from the north, south, east, and west corridors, with access to several neighboring countries. You will see the increasing influence of Iran in the near future, especially in energy and renewables. In tourism, mining, and minerals, we will also be a leader. We will be one of the safest countries in the near future and a source of production and distribution for international companies in the Middle East. Considering the geographical situation and access to oceans and seaports, Iran will be a hub for transporting goods to overseas markets. All this potential will be materialized if we develop our private sector.