International investors flock to Tehran

Der Spiegel reports: Daniel Bernbeck has learned that in Tehran there’s no point getting worked up about things like the gridlock between Gholhak, his neighborhood in the northern part of the city, and downtown, where his office is located. Here he is again, stuck in traffic, with everyone honking their horns. Tehran is a murderous city, says Bernbeck, even without international sanctions and threats of attack from Israel.

Bernbeck is sitting in a gray SUV. He’s a wiry, tall blond man who wears lawyer-like glasses. The only departure from the standard business look is a narrow soul patch on his chin, which suggests a certain degree of individualism. His cell phone rings. Bernbeck’s Iranian secretary is on the line. She’s expecting him, and the deputy German ambassador has also arrived, along with two investment bankers from London and Hong Kong. They are asking about stock tips for Iran.

“Iranian stocks for Hong Kong?” Bernbeck exclaims with a grin, and then says in his best Farsi: “The same bankers would have said a year ago: You’re crazy.” Then he asks the driver to hurry up, although it doesn’t do any good.

Bernbeck is the head of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tehran. He paves the way for business ties in a country where Western politicians have been trying for decades to make such relationships impossible, especially since 2006.

At the time, the Islamic Republic started to rapidly expand its nuclear program. Intelligence agencies predicted that it would be only a matter of a few years before the Iranians had a nuclear bomb. Arab Gulf states in the region felt threatened, and Israel was determined to go to war with Tehran if a political solution could not be found quickly.

For over five years now, Bernbeck, 50, has been living between these two adversarial worlds, more specifically “on the dark side of Mars, where the cannibals and Holocaust deniers live.” Bernbeck says that’s how Iran is portrayed in the West. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “International investors flock to Tehran

  1. rosemerry

    If only the USA would admit that Iran is not a threat, that the cost of pandering to Israel on dubious grounds of Israeli security in danger is far too high, it could lead the way back to proper trade and relations with a big, important, advanced oil-producing nation to the benefit of all.

  2. Norman

    The more this comes to light now, the more I’m getting a picture of Israeli/Netanyahoo showing signs of a panic attach in the works. The issue[s] between Israel & the Palestinians looks to be dead in the water, which isn’t good for either one. If the worlds financial interests are looking at Iranian interests for investment, that’s a good thing for Iran, as well as the west too. Smart money always flows where the action is, and though Israel may have the edge on the huge Gas/Oil pool[s] off its coasts, it’s still a potential powder keg with a lit fuse. This may very well be Netanyahoos “Waterloo” of his own making. So far, he’s been out flanked by the Iranians, and if the present deal with the Palestinians falls through, as is predicted to happen, and the Veto “O” has threatened if Congress tries to scuttle the interim agreement, let’s hope the Israeli Military high command has a supply of straight jackets and padded cells available.

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