0230 GMT January 16, 2019
Trump has made unsuccessful attempts to get the European signatories to the deal on board to push them to quit the accord.
Nonetheless, reactions of European firms to Trump’s move are very important since the Republican billionaire has threatened to slap sanctions on companies if they continue to do business with the Islamic Republic.
Mehdi Karbasian, a deputy minister of industry, mine and trade, who also heads Iran's Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), says Iran’s economy has been coping with US sanctions for years adding that Tehran has always come up with alternatives to cushion the blows of such punitive measures.
In an interview with khabaronline.ir, he said anti-Iran plots which follow sanctions are more harmful than these penalties. He believes preserving national unity and settling factional arguments can help foil such plots.
KHABARONLINE: How can Iran cushion the adverse impacts of US sanctions since the Islamic Republic had been targeted with sanctions even before the Trump era?
MEHDI KARBASIAN: Iran's non-oil exports currently stand at $45 billion. The Islamic Republic is also regarded as an influential power in the region. These provide Iran with good mechanisms for talks with other countries to reduce the negative impacts of US sanctions. I believe our current situation is by far better than in the past.
There are intense arguments about joining the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). What's your take?
In all countries, all political groups either support or voice objection to major decisions. Some politicians have backed Iran's membership in the FATF while others have objected to it. Meanwhile, we should adopt a realistic stance towards this issue. Some argue that cooperation with the anti-money laundering initiative places Iran's financial data at the disposal of the country's adversaries such as the US. Nonetheless, whether we fully cooperate with the body or not, the world can have access to our financial data.
How is the situation of Iran's mines and mining industries?
I believe the mining sector will be least vulnerable to sanctions. This is because our country is able to produce raw materials needed in the sector.
Once there were speculations that revenues generated from the mining sector could replace petrodollars? What's your view on this?
As an expert I do not agree with such plans. But we should boost the mining sector in order to reduce dependence on petrodollars. Last year were exported mining products worth $9 billion which shows that our economy is on the right track.
Do you have any data about foreign investment in the post-JCPOA era?
In the post-JCPOA era, some important events took place. Major mining companies came to Iran and we boosted our exports. Likewise, we were able to take advantage of modern technology to implement major projects. Moreover, some other projects were implemented through joint investment. Nonetheless, US threats to impose sanctions on companies that do business in Iran have adversely impacted foreign investment.
Some major companies are reportedly leaving Iran as a result of such US threats. How could this affect the mining sector?
The European Union is making efforts to bypass US sanctions on companies that do business in Iran. Besides, small- and medium-sized multinational companies that have no joint interests in the US can operate in Iran. They can replace major companies that may leave Iran due to US threats. This can help the mining sector press ahead with its projects.