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Iranian companies optimistic about business in region if sanctions are lifted

Dubai: Iranian companies at Gulfood 2014 said they expect better business opportunities in the region and across the globe if economic sanctions on the country are lifted.

Iranian exhibitors at the week-long food and beverage exhibition that is held at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) are displaying everything from spices and juices to dairy and confectionary goods.

“We can’t transfer money to UAE banks directly,” said Farhad Nakhaj, marketing manager of Tehran-based Sunich.

Nakhaj also said that costs of raw materials for Iranian businesses are high.

“We pay high import tax [so] prices of our products are higher [in the UAE] than [that of] products of UAE-based companies,” he added.

Iran’s agreement with the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States) on an interim deal on its nuclear programme has given Iranian and international banks and oil companies hope that the economic sanctions will be lifted.

The aim of the interim agreement, which was reached in November in Geneva, is to freeze much of Iran’s nuclear programme for six months so that international negotiators can reach a more comprehensive accord. The interim agreement can also be extended for another six months by mutual consent if negotiators need more time to reach a follow-on agreement.

If sanctions are lifted, Iranian companies can transfer money to banks in the UAE, said Ali Moghaddam, general director of Novin Saffron, an exporter of Saffron.

Nakhaj pointed out that costs of raw materials will be lower and prices of products will decrease in Iran.

He said that there will be more opportunities for exports, adding that Iranian companies can import from more countries.

Moghaddam said that Iranian businesses could also open new companies in the region.

“We can open a bank account [in the UAE and Qatar,” he said.