Opening Iran

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The population of Iran is looking forward to new business with Europe, because there is a cultural closeness. “European quality is still valued here”. The population is looking forward to returning to normality – especially well trained young people, who are hoping that European companies will create jobs there.

The official language of Iran is Persian. It is spoken by about 58 % of Iranians as their native language, and every Iranian learns it at school. In addition, there exist many other languages, including Kurdish, Luri, Arabic and above all Azeri, a Turkic language spoken by around 26 % of the population, especially in the Northwest of the country.

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Business opportunities

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80 million people in Iran; 400 million people in the greater region


„For us, Austria is the gate into the European Union!“

President of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce Khamoushi in November 2006.

„Privatisation offers undreamed-of possibilities!“

Boss of the Iranian central bank Valiollah Seif:

„The euro is our most important trading currency, because we do not trade in US dollars“

said Seif in a conversation with the “Presse” newspaper at the Iranian Residence in Vienna.

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Praise for Austria

The boss of the Iranian central bank had only positive things to say about Austria. He said there was a “lively exchange” between the two countries. Relations between Vienna and Tehran were already good before and during the sanctions, he said. The Austrian Kontrollbank also confirms great interest on the part of domestic companies in business with Iran.

„After the end of sanctions, a whole series of projects were arranged in the energy, health and agriculture sectors,” said Seif.

Attractive industries

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Iran has massive problems with its water resources and their utilisation, as well as with waste and air pollution. This has led to a rethink in the past few years. Whereas protection of the environment used to be a side issue, it is now regarded as being of central importance. Major projects aim, on the one hand, at the reduction of water consumption, especially in industry and agriculture, and on the other at the tapping of new water resources (desalination, water processing). This is also confirmed by Economic Delegate Dr. Georg Weingartner:

„ Out of 36 million hectares of cultivable land in Iran, only 18.6 million hectares can currently be actively used. This is above all to be attributed to the acute water shortage in some regions. Initially, the Iranian authorities are reliant almost exclusively upon western technology for the remedying of this problem.“

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Timber industry
Mining, manufacturing of goods
Energy supply, water supply; waste disposal
Health, medicine, pharmaceuticals

The profession of doctor has always been highly esteemed in Persia, thus there is a range of medical faculties and medical schools, so that the number of doctors is basically sufficient.

New hospitals are to be built and existing clinics are to be upgraded. The government is relying upon domestic medical technology companies. It will nonetheless not be able to do without high-tech imports.

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Iran is pushing forward the development of its petrochemical industry. The aim is not only to decrease the importing of expensive benzine – Iran has enough refineries to cover its own requirements – but to make the state petrochemical concern NPC a global provider.

Oil and gas production
Food and beverage industry
Information and communication
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Construction industry and building technology
Drive engineering
Machinery and plant engineering
Financial and insurance services
Real estate and housing sector

Things to know

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1. Around 60 % of Iranians are under 30!

2. Iran is one of the biggest exporters of caviare, the world’s most expensive foodstuff.

3. Other important export goods include saffron, pomegranates and dates.

4. The first genuine postal system was invented in 550 BC in ancient Persia under the rule of Cyrus the Great.

5. The traditional art of carpet weaving has been passed on from generation to generation since time immemorial in certain regions of the country – for example, in the charming city of Kashan in the province of Isfahan – and was recently placed by UNESCO on its prestigious list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

6. The weekend is on Thursday and Friday in Iran. Many shops stay closed during this time.

7. The time change is +2.5 hours (in our winter time) or +1.5 hours (in our summer time).

9. There are only very few dogs in Iran.

10. If one travels in by aeroplane, one can receive a visa-on-arrival at the larger airports. If, however, one travels into Iran by land, one must apply for the visa in advance.

11. There are two currencies in Iran. The Iranian rial is the main currency and is used as the means of payment. Prices, however, are only ever spoken of in tomans, because this currency has fewer zeroes. 1 toman is equivalent to 10 rials

12. Iranians speak Farsi, which can also be called the Persian language. Farsi is written from right to left.

13. Tea (chai) is available to drink everywhere.

14. A common food is the kebab. Unlike in Europe, this is not normally served in bread, but on a skewer together with rice. Iranians like to picnic.

15. The infrastructure in Iran is very good. There are well developed roads, a dense and reliable bus network and also some train routes. The transport costs are pleasantly cheap!

16. In almost every city one can find a central bazaar. Depending on their size, these can have entire aisles of only fabrics, carpets, handicrafts, and many other things. As is usual in the Middle East, prices can be negotiated.

17. Overall, Iran is currently the world’s fourth-biggest receiving country for refugees.

18. Right from the beginning, like the Shah previously, the Islamic Republic has regarded education as a way to strengthen national sovereignty, and accordingly a great deal of importance is attached to the state education system.

European Union

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The European Union (EU) is a grouping with a current membership of 28 states. Outside Europe, the EU also comprises some overseas areas. In total, it has more than half a billion inhabitants. Measured by gross domestic product, the EU internal market is the world’s biggest common economic area. The EU has legal personality, and therefore has the right to inspect and to speak at the United Nations.[7]

The political system of the EU, which has formed in the course of European integration, is based on the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It contains supranational as well as interstate elements. Whereas in the European Council and in the Council of the European Union the individual states with their governments are represented, the European Parliament represents the Union’s citizens directly in the law-making of the EU. The European Commission as an executive organ and the EU Court of Justice as a judicial institution are also supranational bodies. The beginnings of the EU date back to the 1950s, when six states first founded the European Economic Community (EEC).

Deliberate economic integration was intended to prevent military conflicts in future, and to accelerate economic growth and thus citizen’s prosperity due to the larger market. During the curse of the following years, other states entered the Community (EC) in several rounds of expansion. From 1985, the internal borders between member states were opened with the Schengen Agreement. With the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union was founded in 1992, receiving areas of authority in non-economic fields of politics. The supranational responsibilities of the EU were extended in several reform treaties, most recently the Lisbon Treaty, and the common institutions were to some extent democratised in stages. A European public and identity is, however, forming only gradually. Since the 1980s, with the extensions in the powers of the EU and accompanying increase in its importance, the public debate about the EU itself has also been growing, with EU-sceptical positions also gaining in popularity.

Even exit scenarios were made possible by the Lisbon Treaty, and in the United Kingdom in 2016, such a situation was brought about via referendum. Out of the 28 EU states, 19 form an Economic and Monetary Union. In 2002 a shared currency, the euro, was introduced for these countries. In the framework of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, the member states cooperate in domestic and justice policy. Through the joint external and security policy, they endeavour to present a united appearance towards third countries. The EU members also work together in other areas, such as in digital policy, e.g. in the course of the initiative Europe 2020. The European Union has observer status in the G7, is a member in the G20 and represents its members in the World Trade Organisation. In 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[8] The most-spoken languages in the EU are English, German and French.

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