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Iran’s Private Sector Weighs Its Options

Iran’s business community considers the presidential candidates and the future of Iran’s economy.
Mohammad Nahavandian, head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Tehran February 20, 2010. Western-backed sanctions on Iran to crimp its disputed nuclear activities will not have the desired impact as the country increasingly turns to Asian and regional countries, Nahavandian said. To match interview IRAN-ECONOMY/SANCTIONS REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR2ALV5
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It's no secret that Iran’s private business community has been suffering as a result of political uncertainty, sanctions and economic mismanagement. The latest public outcry came in early May, when the Coordination Council of Professional and Engineering Guilds issued a statement criticizing the “diminishing space for the private sector” and asking the political decision-makers to liberalize the political sphere for greater participation of the private sector in key economic and trade decisions. The communiqué concluded by stating: “We will endeavor to promote the active participation of NGOs in national policy-making and believe that all politicians and government representatives should pave the way for an active role by entities like us.” This entity includes 16 major guilds in various technical, infrastructure and construction subsectors, with some 40,000 companies as members. 

Sentiment is very similar among other guilds and industry associations; the timing of the aforementioned statement was certainly not a coincidence. Evidently, representatives of Iranian industry see an opportunity to support those presidential candidates who are more likely to liberalize the Iranian economy. From the perspective of the business community, there are three distinct layers and phenomena that make the upcoming elections significant:

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