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EghtesadOnline: The volume of foreign investments attracted during the previous fiscal year (ended March 20, 2018) registered a notable increase compared with the previous year, the head of the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran said.

"Based on reports gathered from related entities, including the Central Bank of Iran, customs administration, the Oil Ministry, bourse and free zones, foreign funds attracted during the fiscal 2017-18 amounted to about $5 billion," Mohammad Khazaei also told Fars News website.

As the official announced, plans and projects approved to receive finance by the specialized government council, which was formed to ratify foreign finance projects, totaled 190 with an approved investment volume of $10.6 billion.

The number of projects was higher by 25% year-on-year, Financial Tribune reported.

According to Khazaei, the $5 billion in foreign funds absorbed during the fiscal 2017-18 indicate an increase of more than 45% when compared with the year before as the volume for that year stood at more than $3 billion.

"This shows that in general, the number of foreign investments has gained a considerable upward trajectory," he said.

In outlining the latest data concerning Iran's attracted foreign finances, the OIETAI chief said that since the fiscal 2015-16, the total volume of general finance deals clinched between Iran's banking system and foreign creditors exceeded $32 billion.

Khazaei said the precise data on the amount invested into Iran or the letters of credit opened are held by the central bank and its agent banks that distribute the finance and only they may opt to disclose the numbers.

No Foreign Finance Deals Canceled

Khazaei also sought to reassure that no changes have so far been made to Iran's foreign finance deals despite the fact that US President Donald Trump on May 8 withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and promised to return harshest sanctions in history against Iran.

"No official requests have so far been filed with OIETAI indicating the withdrawal of foreign investments that have obtained investment permits under the law on incentivizing and supporting investments," he said.

"In the case of finance deals, no official announcements have been made by foreign financers to the Ministry of Economic and Finance Affairs or the central bank so far."

Khazaei chose not to make any specific comments or recommendations for ongoing negotiations with European and other world powers party to the JCPOA with the aim of keeping the landmark nuclear deal reached in 2015 alive and pointed out that the Foreign Ministry is the main entity handling the issue.

He did, however, refer to some demands in light of the complicated relations Europe has with the US and the billions of dollars that are tied between the two, and the conflict arising from the European Union's continued willingness to work with Iran.

"One of the solutions to ensure that the flow of money transfers will continue is to designate several banks in Europe specifically for this purpose and let them know that they are supported by the EU. The union must also design and announce a special mechanism to support investing companies and reassure them that their investments are covered against political and economic risks," he said.

Khazaei, who is also a deputy economy minister, acknowledged that European banks and companies are independent of their governments and operate as per free market rules, but said the "political will" of European governments can be a key to the predicament facing their companies and banks.

"In case of banking transfers, using SWIFT or things like this, reassuring banks and companies that work with Iran that they have the support of their governments is the main thing," Khazaei said in reference to the global messaging network used by financial institutions. 


Mohammad Khazaei Foreign Investments in Iran