By Sadeq Dehqan & Farzam Vanaki
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Jafar Qaderi, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on Planning, Budget and Calculations, added that Iran must conclude a larger number of such long-term contracts with its neighbors and other countries.
“Such cooperation agreements with other states can determine the direction of our future economic activities and help us resolve our economic problems under the present circumstances in which the country is grappling with [unilateral US] sanctions.”
In January 2016, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran, Tehran and Beijing signed an official joint statement, in which one of the clauses pertained to the two countries’ strong determination to expand cooperation within the framework of a 25-year comprehensive strategic cooperation plan. Following that, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed the need for such cooperation when receiving the Chinese president in a meeting in Tehran.
Since a year ago, the two countries have started serious negotiations to sign the agreement and have exchanged a few drafts of the final deal. On June 23, the final draft of the agreement was eventually approved in a meeting of the Iranian cabinet. The preliminary document and draft of the agreement were handed over to the Chinese side in a visit by Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif to Beijing in the latter days of 2019.
Among the fields mentioned in the agreement’s draft for cooperation between the two countries are investments in Iranian infrastructure as well as oil, gas and petrochemical industries and culture and security.
Dismissing criticisms leveled at the long-term contract, Qaderi regretted that some people always look to the West and are against any collaboration with Eastern countries.
“They criticize such cooperation and express dissatisfaction with it.”
Stressing the need for Iran to change its trade approach in favor of increased transactions with its neighbors, he said, “It is possible that such an orientation would fail to be of great scientific and technological assistance to us; but it will provide us with access to the markets of these countries that can be lucrative for our products.”
The MP noted that at present, however, Iran is not making optimum use of the capacities of the nearby countries’ markets.
Iran must make greater use of the capacities of the neighboring and regional countries such as China, India, Russia and Turkey and expand its cooperation with them, he underlined.
Calling on the government and Parliament to increase their interactions to be able to resolve the country’s problems, Qaderi said while the legislative branch is expected to interact with the administration, it is also required to criticize the executive branch’s performance whenever it is necessary and apply its tools and leverages for better supervision.
He emphasized that supervision does not imply that the Parliament should wait in ambush to catch the government red-handed and create problems for the administration, saying the legislative branch should act as an active supervisor and assist the government.
The lawmaker noted the resolution of existing economic problems is in need of efforts to improve domestic structures, revise the country’s policies and appoint capable and experienced managers.
Iran must reform many of its flawed and ineffective structures to boost and support domestic production, he said, adding that the smuggling of products into the country must be eliminated and sufficient monetary resources must be injected into the capital market.
The MP also urged the country to revise some its monetary, foreign currency and customs policies in favor of domestic production.
He gave the assurance that if these reforms were implemented, Iran would be able to overcome the crises despite US sanctions and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even prior to being elected as US president during his election campaign in 2016, Donald Trump constantly reproached former president Barack Obama’s administration for signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in July 2015, saying the deal had failed to safeguard US interests.
In May 2018, Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran to bring the country to the negotiating table and conclude a new deal.
Mainly targeting Iran’s oil and banking sectors in a bid to cripple the country’s economy, the sanctions failed to prove effective in light of the prudence of Iran’s leadership and government and people’s resistance.