Iranian Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasand resorted to false statistics about foreign investments to portray a rosy image of Iran’s economy.

This is while the government has failed in attracting new foreign investments. Furthermore, the remaining amount has drained, thanks to the sanctions and international isolation. However, Dejpasand frequently brags about new investments and claims this flow continues.

In its Sixth Development Plan, the government has estimated to earn about $65 billion in foreign funding and $30 billion in foreign investment. However, the estimation remained on the Sixth Plan’s papers.

“Recently, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance announced the attraction of $3.8 billion in foreign investment in the form of projects approved by the Foreign Investment Board in the first six months of 2020,” IBNA news agency reported on October 4.

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Abolfazl Kodehi, director-general of Foreign Investment of the Investment Organization, elaborated the matter more. He also told the failed story of foreign investments in Iran.

“The executive branch must do its utmost to turn the ‘attraction’ of foreign investments into an ‘absorption’. ‘Attracting’ foreign capital has a precondition that must be met. First, the financing is defined in the Investment Organization of Iran; then it goes to the Foreign Investment Board to be ‘approved,’ and finally, it will lead to the issuance of a ‘license.’ As a result, the process is not simple. On the other hand, inflow or ‘attraction’ of foreign capital contain various factors that transfer tools are in the first step,” IBNA quoted him as saying.

Afterward, he tried to minimize this lie, adding, “Normally all over the world, the realized amount of foreign capital is less than approved because it depends on the nature of the project.”

He also explained that Iran’s foreign investments situation is not good because one of the essential indicators the business environment is not in a good position.

“Unfortunately, the ranking of this economic index is not favorable for Iran. Also, our executive bodies have not yet set sector priorities, and our investment incentives are weaker than those of neighboring countries. We do not have adequate incentives in the financial, legal, and geographical sectors. Even if foreign investors remained, we are stricter than a country like Turkey, which easily allows residence permits for investment,” Kodehi added.

“Another weakness in attracting foreign capital is identifying investment opportunities within the framework of international standards. We have weaknesses in this area alike,” he ended.

Hossein Salimi, President of the Association of Iranian and Foreign Joint Ventures, explained more about foreign investments’ weaknesses. “The country’s best performance in attracting foreign investment has been $2 billion, which is related to two years ago. This year, the government has issued more than $3.5 billion for ‘foreign investment licenses.’ Therefore, announced figures are only based on forecasts. At the end of the year, we must examine what percentage of these forecasts was actualized.”

Salimi then provided an exciting detail about the countries applying for investment in Iran, which proves all such claims’ emptiness.

“Studies show that the application for investment in Iran covers a wide range of countries. In this regard, 20 requests have been issued by Afghanistan, five requests by Iraq, and also about five requests from China. The number of Afghans applying for investment projects in Iran in previous years reached a maximum of five. Still, this year the number has increased to 15 with more than $20 million for accommodation,”  Saat-e-24 website quoted him as saying on October 6.

“There are accurate statistics on the country’s performance in attracting foreign investment. However, it is not expedient to provide these statistics to those who seek to increase the severity of sanctions in Iran,” Salimi ended.

More interestingly, the media outlet that published the news itself became skeptical and contradictory and wrote at the end of the report. “But there is also the question of how countries are interested in investing in a country with negative economic growth. How is it possible to attract foreign capital in a country that is facing various problems and limited financial and trade transfers?” Saat-e-24 questioned.

Government-linked analysts have also been shocked to hear about such foreign investment claims while the country faces isolation and international sanctions.

“Was the experts’ report to Mr. Minister wrong? Did Mr. Dejpasand not notice that the gap between foreign capital’s approval and attraction is a vast, large, and deep valley? We wish such a miracle to happen. In this case, the Ministry of Economy can make the citizens very happy by giving details,” Khabarban website wrote on November 24.

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