Athens, February 9, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Alexis Tsipras, after Egypt and Israel marched to Iran, not to destroy Persepolis, but to build a new alliance with the descendants of the Empire of Acheamenids.
The rich in natural wealth Islamic Republic of Iran, after years of exclusion from the world community and the pressure of the strong Iranian Diaspora, but also the internal reactions that out of fear are not openly manifested, came into the sights of the Greek Prime Minister.
The lifting of sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program in June, the insight of the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and the methodical approach to the even greater development and strengthening of bilateral relations of the two countries, led Alexis Tsipras to Iran, becoming the first Western leader to visit Tehran and have important contacts at the highest level with the state political and religious leadership.
The Greece implements the vision of Nikos Kotzias for a multidimensional energetic foreign policy, because it is in need of allies – beyond its natural ones EU and US – in other geopolitical spheres so that it can extricate itself from the suffocating embrace of the allies-lenders.
The Islamic Republic of Iran – of the 80 million Inhabitants, one of the richest countries in natural energy deposits and within the first 7 countries in technology – after its return to the international community seeks allies, as well as entrance to markets such as the EU and the USA, with Greece acting as the mediator. The isolation of all these years, has left indelible marks in the daily lives of Iranians and the foreigners visiting the country, something that particularly worries the political leadership of the Islamic Republic.
The Iranians need expertise on issues which in Western countries are taken for granted, while they are unthinkable for their country. They need links to bring them faster to the global market – strategic allies and partners. A strong partner for Iran at this time would effectively mean taking the lion’s share of the benefits of development in the country, something the Tehran government obviously does not want. Greece, with six years of recession, but with a strong fleet and companies active in sectors directly necessary for Iran, seems to be a good partner.
On the other hand, for Greece as well to import cheap energy from Iran, will have a beneficial effect for the greek industry and manufacture sector in general, at a time when domestic consumption has plummeted, forcing the greek production to find a way out to exports. The reduction of energy costs will give a competitive advantage to greek businesses, while it will also register well with interested foreign investors, which is one of the objectives of the government.
The crowded delegation of Greek businessmen who accompanied Alexis Tsipras comes to show the greek interest in a cooperation with the Iranian side. With commercial trade between the two countries standing at EUR 3 mln, there is much room for improvement to the benefit of both sides.
As Greek businessmen told IBNA, Iran has ensured the required conditions to become an attractive investment destination, indirectly leaving spikes for the Greek side for not creating a corresponding environment in Greece, forcing many companies to be driven out of the country exit.
The first results, as stated by many entrepreneurs, are encouraging for the continuation of consultations on the ratification of cooperation agreements. The government encourages and assists in this effort, which is shown by the importance given to the preparation and representation of Greece in the 5th International Exhibition of Tehran, “Innovation and Technology Exhibition and Forum INOTEX 2016”, May 22-25.
The objective of this effort, government officials told IBNA, is the design and implementation of specific agreements contained in the third package deal, signed by the two Foreign Ministers on Monday, February 8, in Tehran, to simplify the procedure for cooperation between the two countries and its subsequent expansion.