Hamid Reza Movassaghi, is Chairman of the Board of the Union of Traders, Producers and Tea Packaging Industries of Iran, Senior Member of Iranian Industrialists, and a senior member of the country’s businessmen in the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade.
As a veteran businessman, craftsman and career professional who has recorded brilliant scores for his beloved country in his distinguished resume, please tell us what you believe are the potentials of our country in the field of trade, industry and mining.
Iran has a significant amount of potential for a country its size. From oil and non-oil mines and reserves to precious metals, various industries in agriculture and most importantly in the area of manpower, we have brilliant capabilities and talents. As you know, many Iranians have high-ranking positions in numerous outstanding hi-tech and financial companies and scientific organizations around the world, such as NASA. Another point that should be mentioned in terms of manpower is the perseverance, energy, genius and Alawi (descendants of Imam Ali) spirit of the Iranian people and their strong religious beliefs which, throughout history, have been a major part of the success of this country.
What do you know about the problems that the Iranian industry is facing at the moment? Do you see the source of the problems being domestic conditions or external issues? To what extent do the policies of Western nations affect our industries? What is the role of the government in improving this situation? Please explain the ways out of these problems based on your many years of experience.
For nearly forty years, we have paid an exorbitant price to keep Iran’s independence and to avoid a pervasive need for Western aid. This important decision has been very beneficial for the country and the people. What I say here is not based on a political stance because I have no specialty in politics. Rather, I like to examine and explain all current issues from an economic point of view. Unfortunately, Iran has strained under pressure from a lot of sanctions in recent years, which have drastically diminished our ability to have problem-free economic interactions with different international communities.
This fact has had direct and obvious effects on different aspects of our country such as its economy, various industries, production, trade, etc. Of course, the lack of a proper response to these conditions by the Iranian government and its lackluster role have not been without impact themselves. I personally believe that the domestic challenges that we are facing inside the country are no less than the effect of sanctions. But the way out of this crisis can be learned from other countries like Malaysia and to some degree from Lebanon. These countries were able to assign experts at crucial government branches to manage such economic predicaments and effectively made significant positive changes at crucial times. The presence of economists and experts at top government levels is one of the most important ways out of the current situation in my opinion.
Recently as you know, the activities of some factories in various industries have been suspended. With your brilliant record in the construction and operation of various factories with a capacity of thousands of workers, how do you evaluate the way they can reopen and start operating again?
With the imminent end of the current government, the new government plans will certainly be seriously hampered by the current closure of factories due to both economic reasons and the Coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, a positive outcome from JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) negotiations will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the reopening and resumption of activities in factories. I am very optimistic that these negotiations will reach the desired result. In fact, the three-pronged lifting of sanctions, forthcoming new government and withholding introduction of immediate new laws by the coming administration can bring producers and industrialists back into action.
What do you think are the most influential decisions of Iranian authorities in the last 10 years in the field of industry, trade and economy (both in the direction of progress and in the opposite direction)?
The decisions made by recent administrations have fallen short of addressing all deficiencies. But worst of all were the cash subsidies and the major economic surgery inflicted on the country in the last several years. Insufficient Extraction of natural resources and energy can be another problem in Iran. We must take real measures for the welfare of people, and people will help drive the country forward in return.
How much is the impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus on world industry and trade, especially in Iran’s case? Will the shape and trading models change forever in the post-corona times?
Undoubtedly, this virus has affected all aspects of human life. The economy and various industries will face many changes after the Coronavirus era. In the West, to combat the virus governments distributed cash payments to their citizens to allow people to meet their financial obligations and to prevent them from leaving their homes. The lack of economic activity and production of countries will have a great impact in the future, which can be clearly seen in all countries’ overall economy, trade, industry and so on. Of course, the Iranian people have an admirable tolerance threshold due to conditions such as sanctions, the experience of the difficult years of the Iran-Iraq war, and etc.
In the post-coronavirus period, the forms of transactions and communications will change dramatically. The role of technology in human life is facing a new definition and the dependence of each of us on it is increasing day by day. For example, I personally have had a particular resistance to being in cyberspace. But in this period people in my circumstances were forced to expand their attendance and increase their activities online.
If there is an issue that we have not mentioned, we would be grateful if you express it at your discretion.
Primarily, I would like to thank you for describing the situation in Iran in various fields in your publication, you are conveying a true picture of Iran to the English-speaking world. Follow your current approach and refrain from political leanings. Just as I am not a political figure and I do not have a political approach to issues, you too can address various topics in your publication away from posturing and affecting an attitude. Also, please publish some contents about the pure character of Iranian people, the true nature of Aryans, peace and friendship, the Alawi essence and pure beliefs, the power of higher thought, great geniuses and so on.
Interview by: Reza Taeb