Only fools will rush into Iran
By Freydoon Khoie
And some naïve Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese companies - who lack devotion to principle - have become feverishly excited over the so-called Iran deal and are gearing up for possible lucrative business with the Khamnei's terrorist regime; these self-same money-obsessed plutocrats fail to realize that some 25 million very angry, agitated and determined young pro-democracy Iranians are watching and will consider any business with the mullahs as a blatant betrayal of the people of Iran who will not settle for anything less than complete and total regime change. This will entail the abolishment of the Islamic republic constitution, the drafting of a new constitution based on a secular political system and an end to the horrific mullahs’ tyranny that has destroyed Iran and Iranians' hope for freedom and justice.
One of the arch agents of such betrayals is a German named Daniel Bernbeck who is manning the so-called German-Iran Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tehran. He is not the first, nor the last, German to disregard all principles and stab the people of Iran in the back. Most Europeans, Russians, Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans have been doing business as usual with the repressive and tyrannical regime in Tehran for years, without any regards for the gross human rights violations and political oppression meted out daily in the country. As a result, in the eye of Iranians they are guilty by association; but they are being warned to stop doing business with a regime that has no place in the hearts and minds of the people of Iran and recognize the signs that the days of Khamenei's regime have come to an end.
It was reported recently that Bernbeck was enjoying travelling in luxury in a grey SUV in Tehran. He's a wiry, tall blonde man who wears lawyer-like glasses. The only departure from the standard business look is a narrow beard patch on his chin, something many Germans, Brits, French and Italians do these days thinking that they will be favored by the mullahs in charge. Alas, they do not even realize that even the Iranian Hezbollah and government employees who grow a beard do so as a sad expression of job security, imposed by the regime. 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 faulty Parsi: "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 with perpetual traffic gridlock, due to the regime's incompetence in managing the capital city - or the whole country for that matter.
As the head of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tehran, his job is to pave the way for business ties in a country where international economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation have crippled the economy for decades and made such relationships impossible, especially since 2006 when regime change, ending tyranny, oppression, dictatorship, corruption and state terrorism is at the top of the popular agenda.
When Khamenei's terrorist regime started to rapidly expand its contentious nuclear program, intelligence agencies predicted that it would be only a matter of a few years before the hyper-maniac mullahs and Hezbollah terrorists and revolutionary guards had a nuclear bomb. The G.C.C. states in the region (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) rightfully felt threatened, and Israel is determined to go to war if a political solution cannot be found quickly. But the sanctions - and specially their rigid observance - have been successful and have crippled the Iranian economy, drastically reduced oil revenues, blocked any and all revenues generated from secret deals and, in short, have driven Khamenei to his knees, begging for any solutions short of complete regime change but the pro-democracy forces are not going to allow that and are determined to see to it that 2014 is the regime's final year in power.
On Nov. 24, 2013 the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, signed a deal in Geneva aimed at dismantling any and all nuclear related programs, freeing all political prisoners, and prisoners of conscience, allowing the pro-democracy millions to start preparing for a national referendum and forming a new secular government within the next six months. The demands for wholesale reform is part of the deal, but it has been kept secret for fear of an ‘implosion’. According to the official communiqué, Iran would roll back its nuclear program and open up its political landscape; in exchange, the West would begin indeed incrementally ease some aspects of the economic sanctions, while monitoring the implementation of the agreed reforms.
Iranians have endured protracted harsh economic sanctions along with the regime's draconian level of social and political oppression, institutional corruption, abject poverty, massive unemployment, economic dislocation and diaspora for which they are holding Ali Khamenei and his cohorts responsible. The price of gasoline has multiplied; milk and cheese now cost three times as much as they did two years ago and life has become unbearable. The people are convinced that nothing will get better without regime change and they don't want to see some opportunist vulture investors give any breathing room to Khamenei and his partners in crime and delay his regime's imminent fall and disintegration.
Although none of the sanctions have been actually lifted, some opportunist European businesses are already rushing to Tehran in the hope of securing deals with a tyrannical regime that holds the nation of Iran at gun point without any concern for their human rights and liberties.
But all those opportunist wheelers and dealers should be warned that not only will their contracts with Khamenei's regime not be honored following regime change, but each and every single one of those contracts, agreements, concessions etc., will be thoroughly reviewed, investigated, revalued and re-negotiated - if at all.
The signatories to those contracts, who are the members of Khamenei's regime, will be either in prison or on the run and the officers of the subject foreign companies involved in bribery and securing these deals will be prosecuted by the new government's judiciary and their companies will be blacklisted. All foreign companies contemplating to do business with Khamenei's regime will ignore these caveats at their own peril.
David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, stated recently that the U.S. has poured cold water on the euphoria surrounding the expectation that Iran will soon be open for business. "Businesses and banks need to be realistic on the existing economic sanctions and should not be in a rush to do business with Iran", said Cohen in his recent interview with Gulf News.
Cohen’s comments come at a time when leading global oil companies, banks and trading firms are preparing to head to Tehran in search of lucrative deals. But pro-democracy opposition leaders representing the people of Iran advise all those global oil companies, banks, and trading firms to continue their Boycott, Divest and Sanction decisions against Khamenei's terrorist regime until it falls and the people of Iran are freed, ushering in a new secular, democratic government. At such a time, all those international companies who honored the gallant Iranians’ struggle for freedom will be warmly welcomed to Iran for clean, honorable and transparent contracts in a corruption-free, legally-secure and safe environment in a new Iran.
The alleged thaw in relations between the West and Khamenei's regime following the agreement with the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S.) on an interim deal on its nuclear programme has raised the hope among international businesses that the sanctions are on their way out, but not until regime change and an end to dictatorship in Iran.
"My message, first of all, is that anyone who is contemplating doing business with Iran should be extraordinarily careful because of the extensive and complicated sanctions that are still in place," added Mr. Cohen.
The U.S. official went on to say: "the aim of the interim agreement that was reached in Geneva is to freeze much of Iran’s nuclear programme for six months so that international negotiators can pursue a more comprehensive accord which includes wide ranging political issues and change of the regime's whole system of governing Iran". The sanctions relief agreed in Geneva is limited, temporary and reversible, he added.
The U.S. Treasury Department insists that, despite the Geneva agreement, the vast majority of sanctions against Iran remain in place and the scope for doing business remains extremely limited. "I would urge anyone who is planning to do business with Iran to think twice and consider both legal and political risks as well as reputational risks they could face," Cohen said.
Even if Khamenei's regime is to reach a comprehensive deal on the nuclear issue, the U.S. government believes that it will not result in an end to all sanctions. "We still have significant issues with Iran’s support for internal and external terrorism, their abuse of human rights and lack of political freedom in Iran, for their support of the Assad regime in Syria and organizations with terrorism links," Cohen concluded.