Prague, Dec 3 (CTK) – Former Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan along with friends close to President Milos Zeman established the Czech-Slovak-Iranian Trade Chamber three months ago, awaiting the beginning of next year when the sanctions against Iran will be lifted, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote Thursday.
Two years ago, Kavan used to complain that he can hardly make ends meet as he was only paid 10,000 crowns a month as his pension, MfD writes.
Now he is facing quite different problems, already negotiating on potential deals with Iran, it adds.
In doing so, Kavan (foreign minister in Zeman’s government from 1998 to 2002) can emulate Jaroslav Tvrdik, another minister from Zeman’s government, who is now heading the Mixed Czech-Chinese Bilateral Cooperation Chamber.
As Iran was shunned over its nuclear programme by Western powers for almost a decade, the local market, with the population number comparable to that in Germany, is very hungry, MfD writes.
Kavan knows this. Ever since his studies and, in particular, the time when he was the President of the United Nations General Assembly (2002-2003), he has good connections, it adds.
“At the time of Czechoslovakia, the annual volume of the trade with Iran amounted to around 525 million dollars. Now it is roughly 25 million,” Kavan is quoted as saying.
“We will try to approach what used to be,” he added.
The Czech-Slovak-Iranian Trade Chamber is headed by Kavan and Milos Kuzvart, environment minister in Zeman’s government. An important position in it is also held by Zdenek Zbytek, the commander of a tank division from the Czechoslovak Communist military, MfD writes.
Zbytek’s firm Mold Vin is among its founding members.
Kavan, 69, sometimes complains about his being forgotten in the Czech Republic, it adds.
“Unfortunately, I am more respected and I have more work abroad than here,” he told the paper.
A new era will start for him on New Year’s Eve, MfD writes.
“The investments will be going in both directions,” Kavan told the paper.
“Iranians are interested in energy, transport infrastructure, railways, engines, irrigation systems and water treatment plants. There is a great deal of this. It may be a very large package,” he added.
“For a start, they can offer pomegranates, dates and pistachios,” Kavan said.
“Iranians are interested in our companies, but we are too slow,” he added.
Although the sanctions will only be lifted in a month, Kavan already started his negotiations before the Chamber was formed. In spring, he accompanied a group of Czech businesspeople to the country along with Communist leader Vojtech Filip, Kavan said.
In a month, Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi Fard, first deputy chairman of the Parliament of Iran, is to come to the Czech Republic.
Kavan would like Aboutorabi Fard to meet not only Filip and the Chamber of Deputies deputy chairman Jan Hamacek (CSSD), but also Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (both CSSD), MfD writes.
For Kavan, this may be a surprising political comeback as his current political influence is tiny, it adds.