Perspectives of Economic Cooperation Between Slovenia and Iran

New Ambassador of Slovenia in Iran Kristina Radej predicts the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries and sees the greatest potential in economy sectors with high added value.

“Relations between Slovenia and Iran have always been very good,” Kristina Radej says. She will take up her duties after reopening of the Embassy. She will be responsible for strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.

Kristina Radej was the Chargé d’affaires a.i. in Tehran (2009–2013). After the closure of the Embassy of Slovenia for security reasons, Radej in conversation with the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said that Slovenia would return its diplomatic mission at the earliest opportunity.

“Relations between Slovenia and Iran have always been constructive,” Kristina Radej emphasizes and adds that both countries have been engaged in a constant dialogue since the opening of the Embassy of Iran in Ljubljana (2011). The international sanctions imposed against Iran because of its nuclear program, had a negative impact on the cooperation between the two countries.

Trade Declined After the Closure of the Embassy

The priority goal for Kristina Radej is to strengthen Iranian-Slovenian economic cooperation because at this moment the trade level between the two countries is still very low. According to official figures, in 2011 the trade between Slovenia and Iran amounted to 100 million euros, but according to Kristina Radej’s estimations, the real figure was 80–100 million euros higher, since the financial transactions were executed through third countries. After the closure of the Embassy in Tehran, that figure has shrunk considerably. The lowest trade indicator (22 million euros) was recorded in 2014, and then this figure started growing and in 2016 totalled to 47 million euros.

Improvement of Financial Management

Kristina Radej sees the greatest prospects for economic cooperation in the industries with high added value, such as pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, science and technology, infrastructure, manufacturing of household and office equipment. Kristina Radej is content that Slovenian businessmen show great interest in the 80-million Iranian market.

The Ambassador also notes that there are still some difficulties in carrying out payment transactions. However, the situation is changing right now. Gorenjska Bank established correspondent relations with one of Iranian banks, and another Slovenian SID Bank offered 100 million euros of insurance credits for doing business in Iran.