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Global Economy

Ambiguous hopes in Iran

The news about the nuclear negotiations in Vienna these days could hardly be more contradictory. Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign and security policy representative, tweeted on Monday that he firmly believed an agreement was on the horizon. The moment had come for a final effort to reach a compromise.

On the same day, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said at the weekly press conference that there are currently no signs of a quick agreement and no reason for optimism – nor for pessimism – regarding the ongoing negotiations.

When asked by ARD, Khatibzadeh demanded guarantees from the negotiating partners that an agreement would survive a future change of government in the USA. "We must ensure that Washington does not ridicule international relations and international law again," the spokesman said. The US is unable to keep its word. Therefore, suggestions were made to the other side as to what such a guarantee could look like. Since negotiations are in progress, no details can be given about the proposals.

Khatibzadeh did not want to respond to the objection that governments of democratic countries will not change their political system for a nuclear deal and that any future government may reassess Iran's compliance with agreements.

concerns of the entrepreneur

About 150 kilometers southeast of Tehran, the struggle for an agreement is being followed with concern. There, in the Iranian desert, is the Tara Spinning factory. The 53-year-old owner, Omid Yaraghi, was sent to Munich by his father as a teenager to go to school and do his Abitur. After graduating, he returned to Iran and set up the textile company, which today generates an annual turnover of around 30 million euros.

Yaraghi says the sanctions have helped his cotton mill to grow, on the one hand, because he produces for 80 million Iranians, who have to wear clothes even when Western brands are not allowed to do so due to US President Donald Trump's 2020 textile sanctions against Iran deliver.

His factory has the most modern machines from Switzerland and Germany. The sanctions meant that he could no longer get spare parts from Switzerland. The German Saurer Group, on the other hand, is supplying technology because the company was partly bought by the Chinese and they were ignoring US sanctions.

Business partners broke off all contact

The consequences of the sanctions two years ago surprised Yaraghi. Previous business partners, with whom you always maintained good contact, would not even have answered e-mails or phone calls. The lines suddenly went dead.

Yaraghi hopes the negotiations will come to a positive conclusion ahead of the Lunar New Year on March 20. He can understand the regime's demand for guarantees. Since Great Britain, France and Germany hardly opposed the termination of the JCPOA nuclear agreement by then US President Trump, Iran now lacks trust in the word of the Europeans. Think of them as Washington's puppets.

Yaraghi believes that even if the negotiations end positively, problems could arise again after the next US election. Because if Trump comes back to power, he will sanction again. Exactly this skepticism was also shared by large companies such as Siemens and Volkswagen. You should hold back with investments, even if there is an agreement. The regime is in no hurry to conclude the negotiations. Because Tehran doesn't take the pressure from the USA and the threats to take military action against nuclear enrichment very seriously.

poverty and currency collapse

In the big bazaar of the capital Tehran, however, people are still hoping for a quick deal. A woman who does not want to give her name complains that hardly anyone is doing well financially. Here most lived below the poverty line. In addition, the country's currency, the rial, is constantly losing value.

The Iranian leadership's harsh crackdown on its own people in the past raises doubts as to whether the well-being of the Iranians is the focus of the negotiations for the regime. In Tehran it is said that the government and the Revolutionary Guards need money to maintain the institutions and the apparatus. Nevertheless, an agreement shortly before the New Year celebrations should give the people of Iran hope.

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