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Investing in Iran

Jeff Siegel

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted July 9, 2014

In 1982, most Americans were still pretty pissed off about the Iran hostage crisis.

There were certainly plenty of folks in my neighborhood who had little love for Iranians. I even remember hearing a song on the radio called “Bomb Iran,” which mirrored the song structure of the Beach Boys’ hit “Barbara Ann.” Perhaps you remember it.

As an 11-year-old boy, I didn’t know much beyond what I saw on television or heard from adults. So when I met Hossein, an immigrant from Iran, at the bus stop one morning, my defenses instantly went up. He was Iranian, so I was not supposed to like him. In fact, I was supposed to feel anger and violence towards him.

But I couldn’t do it.

Hossein was one of the nicest people I had ever met. Very down to earth, great sense of humor, and extremely grateful for the opportunity to live in the United States.

His father was a doctor and, from what I understand, an outspoken critic of the Iranian government. I suspect this is why they were driven from their homeland.

In any event, over the course of the year, I got to know Hossein quite well. I met his family and even had dinner at his apartment one night. It was a small place — two bedrooms for six people. It wasn’t fancy.

There were a few paintings on the walls, a very small black-and-white television, and a few scattered pieces of furniture. These were not wealthy folks, but they were good people.

So these days, when I hear people waxing poetic about bombing foreign lands in the name of democracy, I get pretty angry. Although there are certainly plenty of foreign dictators and warmongers happy to support the destruction of the Western world, I suspect most of the citizens in these foreign lands are just like the rest of us. They want only to live in peace, with limited government intervention and the right to enjoy life without the threat of violence.

U.S. Firm’s $1 Billion Iran Deal

I’m a strong advocate of free market capitalism for many reasons, but perhaps the most important reason is that it can serve as a bridge to unite people of different faiths and ethnicities. It can detract from the call to war, it can help to thwart violence, and it can lift many out of poverty, which, as a result, lessens the threat of terror.

Educated people who can peacefully provide for themselves and their families rarely have a need or desire to spread terror.

So when I read the news this week that a U.S. company called World Eco Energy signed a preliminary deal to invest $1.175 billion to generate electricity in Iran — using solid waste as the fuel source — I was quite pleased.

As reported in the Tehran Times

World Eco Energy has agreed to procure machinery and equipment, transfer technology, and employ 80 percent of the manpower from the local workforce.

The project will create 650 direct jobs and 2,000 indirect jobs, and will be implemented in four phases over the course of 24 to 36 months, Qorbanpour added.

The project has envisaged that about 250 megawatts (MW) of electricity will be generated per day from burning 1,500 tons of solid waste, he stated.

Iran plans to widely expand its use of renewable energy. On October 9, 2013, Homayoun Haeri, the managing director of the Iran Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Management Company (TAVANIR), said Iran plans to construct three new wind farms, each with a power generation capacity of 350MW.

Economic Cooperation

Although there are clearly differences between the U.S. and Iranian governments, I’m quite certain that those who will gain from this project — both American and Iranian citizens — will be more than happy to allow the promise of mutual economic growth take priority over the promise of more violence… violence that often affects those who have no ill will towards the other side.

And for me, as a supporter of global alternative energy development, it’s great to see how the industry is crossing barriers — both geographic and ideological — to enable the light of capitalism to shine.

Sure, there are those who maintain that we should not be doing business with the enemy. But the people of Iran are not my enemies.

In fact, the only enemies between the two countries are dictatorial lawmakers, religious zealots, and the nationalistic sheep that fall for the illusions the other two create.

The way I see it, it makes complete sense to support economic cooperation between the two nations. Plus, for energy investors, it’s opportunities like these that can also create individual wealth.

I have no interest in profiting off the manipulation and violence between Iran and the U.S., but I’m more than happy to profit from the development of new energy projects that unite economic interests. And I’m not the only one.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece entitled, “Oil, Auto Companies Make Plans to Invest in Iran if Sanctions Ease.”

I particularly loved this part…

“…Iranian businessmen in Tehran privately indicated that they would love to partner with American investors going forward. Russian, Chinese and Turkish companies, which have big presences in Iran, aren’t known for high quality products or the ability to introduce cutting edge technologies. In late April, Iran canceled a $2.5 billion deal with state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. following repeated delays at a giant oil-field project.”

In the absence of sanctions, which I believe is coming, there will be a rush of new investment headed to Iran. In fact, Deutsche Bank, Total SA, and Royal Dutch Shell have all recently participated in presentations of investment opportunities in Iran. There’s huge opportunity in this region.

Jay Solomon from the Wall Street Journal writes…

As talks between Iran and six major powers on limiting its nuclear program enter the final stages of diplomacy this week in Vienna ahead of a July 20 deadline, global companies are fact-finding, meeting with potential Iranian partners and jockeying for position should an end to sanctions open the isolated economy.

They are drawn by what could become the largest market in the Middle East, with nearly 80 million people, the majority of whom are under 30, well-educated and tech-savvy, and by the country’s energy potential—it has the fourth-largest proven oil reserves and second-largest proven gas reserves in the world.

Bottom line: I’m starting to get cautiously bullish on Iran — not just from a profit perspective, but from a more peaceful, diplomatic one as well.

To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth…

Jeff Siegel Signature

Jeff Siegel

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Jeff is the founder and managing editor of Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor’s page.

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