The Iranian economy has a great growth potential, and if the country opens, Both US and Iran could conclude mutual beneficial agreements. Iran is not North Korea or Afghanistan. Its gross domestic product reached 382 billion dollars, which places it at the same level than Thailand or Colombia. Bringing it to the population, the GDP amounts to 13 100 dollars, which is better than Turkey or Kazakhstan.
The Iranian development potential is vast, and there is an attractive market for Western firms. Oil accounting for 80% of exports, the year 2009 will not be easy, but with 96 billion dollars (75 billion) of reserves and low external debts, the country has enough to cushion the effects of a slowdown economy.
To consider an economic partnership, it is first necessary that the relations between the United States and Iran become more relax, particularly on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. In 1997, when Khatami was elected, conditions seemed ripe for reconciliation.
But, the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, passed in 1996 and it, was extended shortly after the re-election of Mr. Khatami in 2001. In 2002, President Bush considered Iran as a full member of the "axis of evil". And the invasion of Iraq by the Americans have boosted the popularity of Ahmadinejad and favoured his election.
If the United States show less hostility toward Iran, the chances of Khatami to be re-elected will increase. Some opponents of the US-Iran rapprochement think that it would not be free to change things as Khamenei is the real strongman of the country. But if you look at the ME, besides India, Israel, Turkey, merely Pakistan and recently Iraq, the Iranian democratic mechanisms exist, however limited they may be.
Reconciliation would have many advantages. Iran will find its place on the international stage and will purchase its growth. The United States and its ally Israel will neutralize a nuclear weapons program. Finally, a promising market will open. This reconciliation is possible if Iran gets a chair moderate supported by the population, and if the American administration is sincerely willing to establish relations with Iran.
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