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Expansion of economic ties with Iran not conditional on nuclear deal: UAE official

8 July 2015 22:35



Head of the United Arab Emirates’ Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone says his country will not wait for a comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group in order to expand economic relations with Iran.

Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – have been engaged in crucial talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, to reach a landmark comprehensive deal over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The negotiating sides missed an initial deadline of June 30 and all parties agreed on a new deadline on July 7. However, in the wake of the outstanding issues in the talks, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Tuesday that the negotiations would continue for “a couple” of more days.

Speaking to IRNA during a visit to Iran’s Qeshm Free Trade Zone, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a long record in trade ties with the Islamic Republic, adding, “At present, we seek to further expand our economic relations with Iran.”

Bin Sulayem, who is also chairman of the UAE’s DP World, noted that he has visited Iran’s Qeshm Island frequently during the past 25 years and his company has good plans for further development of bilateral cooperation in trade and economic fields.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bin Sulayem and his accompanying delegation visited industrial and economic capacities on Qeshm Island. The Emirati delegation has also toured two more Iranian free zones in Anzali and Chabahar port cities.

File photo shows a commercial ship operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines loading cargo at the Arvand Free Trade Zone in southwest Iran.

The UAE delegation is currently in Iran on an invitation by Akbar Torkan, advisor to Iran’s president and secretary of the Supreme Council of Iran’s Free Trade, Industrial and Special Economic Zones.

Mohsen Mohammadi Moein, who is in charge of transit affairs at Chabahar Free Trade and Industrial Zone, told IRNA on Wednesday that during its three-day stay in Iran, the Emirati delegation will visit various free zones across the country to “assess capacities of these zones for prospective investments ranging from USD 500 million to USD 1 billion.”

Earlier in June, Torkan said attraction of investment  is Tehran’s basic strategy for the development of free trade zones.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a one-day conference on the investment opportunities in Iran’s free trade zones in Dubai, Torkan added that Iran’s policy toward such zones is to create suitable grounds for the attraction of domestic and foreign investments.

“Iran seeks to further strengthen economic relations with all regional countries, including the United Arab Emirates, and encourage joint investment in its free zones,” he said.

The one-day conference on the investment opportunities in Iran’s free trade zones opened in Dubai on June 13, attended by Torkan, Iran’s Ambassador to the UAE Mohammad Reza Fayyaz, a group of Iranian businesspeople and investors, as well as a number of businesspeople from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The role of free zones in economic development of Iran, ways of attracting foreign capital and technology to Iran’s free zones, and major grounds for investment in Arvand and Chabahar free trade zones, were major topics of discussion during the event.

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