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Iran's economic delegation meets Iranian expatriates in Washington

Iran's economic delegation currently visiting the United States to attend the spring meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) conferred with a number of outstanding Iranian expatriates including economists, tradesmen, technical experts and university professors, IRNA reported from Washington.

The economic gathering of the Iranian expatriates in the US dubbed `Memorial of Mohsen Nourbaksh', the late governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which was organized by Iran's interest section in Washington, was held at the city Hilton Hotel on Saturday night.

The Iranian economic delegation consists of the Minister of Economics and Financial Affairs Tahmasb Mazaheri, CBI Director Mohammad-Javad Vahaji, CBI Deputy Director for hard currency affairs Mohammmad-Jafar Mojarrad, a member of Majlis Economic and Financial Affairs Commission Amrollah Mohammadi and a number of economic officials.

The meeting opened by some verses from the holy Qur'an read to commemorate the demise of Nourbakhsh and his peace of mind.

An Iranian expert from the US Stock Market, addressing the gathering, lauded Nourbakhsh's services to Iran's economy and referred to the hard currency price control and the growing international reputation of Iranian economic system as two major achievements realized by him.

Then some participants brought up their queries and proposals on Iran's economic status and the world economic trend.

At the meeting, Mazaheri pointed to Iran's recent economic achievements owing to the reform of the national economic system and the unification of hard currency rate.

Briefing the attendants on the economic development plan of President Khatami's cabinet, he noted that according to the plan, oil revenues are to be referred to as the sale of capital and financial assets.

"The government has not only blocked currency fluctuations by establishing a hard currency deposit fund, but has provided a source for investment and extension of currency credits to the private sector," he added.

Concerning Iran's reliance on oil, he said that on the basis of an ambitious project it is hoped that by the end of the Fourth Economic Development Plan, namely six to seven years later, the budget of the current expenditures are to be drawn up without reliance on oil revenues.

"The proceeds from oil sale will rather be spent on infrastructural projects and the hard currency deposit fund," he added.

The next speaker, Deputy Head of the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) Baradaran Shoraka said that MPO is currently involved in drawing up a 20-year economic plan based on Iranian constitution and the expertise of similar countries.

"Contrary to the former days when foreign companies were allocated a maximum of 49 percent of shares, the figure has been raised to 100 percent," he noted.

Another member of the Iranian delegation, Mojarrad, in reply to the question on Iran's ailing economy, said that despite facing many difficulties, the national economic system is not sick.

Pointing to the warm welcome to the bonds presented by Iran on international markets and the increase in the national hard currency deposits, he said that at present Iran enjoys a high reputation in the world.

"Despite minor problems facing national economy, its overall stance is almost favorable," he added.

The official said that no fluctuation in hard currency rate occurred in Iran either in the course of war in Afghanistan, or the recent battle in Iraq. "This is while any regional developments in the past ended up in hard currency fluctuations," he added.

At the meeting, Mohammadi noted that a number of measures have been taken by Majlis in the field of economic services.

He referred to some examples such as the ratified laws on foreign investment, guild system, import and export, budget reform and hard currency unification.

"Other laws concerning private insurance, special economic zones and commercial transportation are currently being examined," he concluded.

... Payvand News - 4/14/03 ... --

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