Australia & Iranian Economy
The history of primary relations between Australians and Iranians is not really clear. It is believed that some travels between two nations have been conducted in the 1960s, and then official relation was started after establishing embassies in Canberra and Tehran in the 1970s.
Friendly relation continued even after Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979 as Iran was one of the largest importers for Australian agriculture products at the time. In 1980s Iranian commercial ships were moving in most Australian exporting ports. During 1990s the worth of Australian export to Iran was $600 million every year, and reached to $925 million worth in 1997. As Iran relations with United States had become stressful in those decades, Australian universities were main destination for Iranian postgraduate students who had scholarships from their own government.
By rising political tensions between Iran and US at beginning of the 2000s, Iran’s nuclear case was sent to the United Nations Security Council, and the council imposed sanctions against Iranian industries mostly related to nuclear and military programmes. Australia which had participated in war in Iraq and Afghanistan as ally for United States turned her policies and followed US’ regard to any deal with Iran. Consequently, relations between two countries reached to cold and near- disconnected status.
Following those policy-follow ups, by 2008 - 2011, Australian governments imposed unnecessary autonomous economic sanctions addition to UN’s, and completely lost Iranian huge market despite Australia did not have herself any political problem with Iran.
That loss happened for Australia in terms that Western permanent members of UN Security Council like France, England + Germany and even USA; those who had designed Iran's sanctions, kept economic relations with Iran in UN’s regulations frame-work. France kept Iranian massive car market with its Peugeot and Renault, England with several contracts in Iranian Oil & by-products, tourism and student exchanges, Germany with high volume export of spares, medicine, food –stuff, medical and agriculture equipment. Even American wheat was exported to Iran in huge volumes under Ahmadinejad presidency although the export was named in United States as "Humanitarian program of permission export of food and medicine".
In terms that Australian economy was struggling and challenging with global recession, she had lost a rich patron on the other side of the world which its political problems with others were completely unrelated to Australia. A Persian proverb says “Bowl had become hotter than soup”.
We deeply realized that proverb when an Australian producer of ‘infant food’ did not sell product to one of Iranian importers who had asked us to facilitate his ‘Baby-milk’ purchases from Australian market. Australian manufacturer in answer our follow-ups said: ‘Sorry, Iran is sanctioned; I do not sell to your client’!
Economic sanctions which were designed by United Nations after second world –war as a foreign policy is a legitimated deprivation to force governments to comeback on the right track and change their policies. In fact economic sanctions are modern versions of war without bombardment. The problem of using this policy today is; This foreign policy has been misled from its primary goals, and has been misused as a weapon to change political regimes, or enforce a nation to riot, conducting internal conflicts and make mess in country to smash their governments eventually.
In case of Iran, the country proved its stability. Iran bypassed all sanctions and increased its nuclear capabilities from 160 centrifuges in 2003 to 19000 by 2013 according to American reports. Sanctions though made difficulties for Iranian governments, but mostly harassed ordinary people and forced them to purchase commodities with expensive prices, innocent patients to deprive from medicine / treatment equipment, and Iranian international students to deprive from courses which they loved.
Today, at this time that Iran has made a comprehensive agreement with World’s powers and Australian foreign minister and her deputy have had travels to Tehran which points to Australian interests for re-relation with Iran, we advisedly comment in the following paragraphs hopefully contributes to this suitable relationship which would be benefit two nations including companies, exporters and traders in this time of worldwide economic downturns:
- Australia would have a special platform in Iran if reviews on her some policies regard that Middle-Eastern territory. We believe she needs to independently think, decide and act mostly benefit Aussies in deals with Islamic Republic.
Iran manages several vast economic relations with economy powers like India, Brazil, South Korea and Japan without having any common ideological interests with them. Iran and Turkey have a warm economic relation despite they have different views about some political matters. Australia has potential to deal with Iran such as those mentioned countries, plus this advantage that Australia is a Western with faith attitude, moderated with an unselfish culture which is in interest of Iranian society, culture and leaders.
An honest relationship with Iran can involves Australia with Iranian economy in a vast domain. Attending Australian professional engineers in Iranian different industrial projects requires having and using that Aussie faith. Few years ago, a retired Australian politician mentioned in an article published in an Australian paper that our ambassador in Tehran has had duty of collecting information for a third country with political problems with Iran, travelling monthly to that country and delivering reports. We believe now; that we will not be able to take projects, joint ventures, etc. in Iran if our ambassador continues to that duty.
- Australia needs to consider infrastructure and industrial technology transfers, scientific-based programmes and plans for Iranians to reach a welcome landing on their economy.
Iran has about 78 million population which doubles every 30 year, a huge market with thousands developing programmes. About %50 of this population are under 30 years old. If Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear studies and programmes are peaceful and they need for developing projects; that is truth and is a demand.
Iran is a smart and powerful country in region with proven stabilities. Security collaborations have been begun between Australia and Iran since few months ago following Julie Bishop and then Ric Wells trips to Tehran. It demonstrates relationship would be warmer shortly after approving ‘Iran Deal’ in United States.
Iranian leaders have pointed to traffic of Westerns’ movements in Tehran in recent weeks. According to a report from Tehran all hotels have been booked till 2016 by foreign exporters and traders mostly from Europe and North America, and there is almost not any vacant room in quality hotels.
Only countries can be involved with Iranian economy who consider that nation’s benefits equal with their own; Faith.
Australia and Iran Chamber of Commerce & Industries Incorporated
Adelaide - Australia
14 September 2015