Tag Archives: iran

Iran’s Latest Investment Pledge Raises Questions in Tajikistan

On February 23, Tajikistan’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) announced that a group of Iranian companies had agreed to build an industrial town in the country. According to the ministry, the massive project will entail the construction of about 50 industrial enterprises including aluminum, cotton, and fruit processing plants, in Rudaki district near the Tajik capital Dushanbe. Experts suggest that the remaining enterprises might include plants producing construction materials, solar panels, power transformers, electricity usage meters, and light bulbs. The authorities expect that Tajikistan’s first industrial town will increase the country’s exports, while also reducing imports and creating about 20,000 new jobs.

The announcement made during a three-day investment forum in Dushanbe was very short on details and, therefore, raised a number of questions. First, there is no indication of when the construction of the industrial town is expected to begin. According to the MEDT, Iranian experts still have to complete a feasibility assessment and the technical documentation. Once these are finalized, the construction phase is expected to take about three years.

Second, the authorities have not indicated where the resources required to implement the large-scale project will come from. Tajik experts estimate that the project will cost over US$ 2 billion. The government of Tajikistan which struggles to find resources to build the giant Rogun dam and has to rely on the international financial institutions (IFIs) in financing a large part of its social sector needs is unlikely to take on a major co-investor role. The government’s role will most probably be limited to enacting favorable legislation to improve the economic feasibility of the project and building part of the related infrastructure. Other major donors in the country, including Russia, China, and the IFIs, are also unlikely to co-sponsor an Iranian-led investment project. Therefore, if Iranian companies are serious about the project, they would effectively have to provide all of the funding.
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Filed under Industry, Tajik-Iranian relations, Tajikistan

Tajikistan and Iran: Is Dushanbe Distancing Itself from Cultural Cousin? (EurasiaNet.org)

An interesting article, which was originally published by EurasiaNet.org on March 7, 2011, looks at Tajikistan’s relations with Iran, particularly in the cultural field. I think it is worth to repost the article here.

Tajikistan and Iran: Is Dushanbe Distancing Itself from Cultural Cousin?

The casual visitor could not be blamed for believing Iran’s influence is ascendant in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. Iranian pop music blasts from many of the city’s cafés. Iranian-made yellow taxis ferry a bevy of fashionable Iranian businessmen around downtown. Market stalls are stacked with Iranian cookies and cakes. And some government buildings are even adorned with signs in three languages: Tajik, Russian, and Persian.

Given the close cultural connection between Tajiks and Iranians, the strong Persian flavor in Dushanbe isn’t so surprising. But on the diplomatic front, there are abundant signs suggesting Tajikistan’s leaders are seeking to distance themselves from Tehran, long the country’s most ardent patron. Although the change can be attributed to Dushanbe’s fears of Islamic radicalism, it has long been clear that Iranian money is welcome in Dushanbe and the Islamic Republic’s politics are not.
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Filed under Politics, Tajik-Iranian relations, Tajikistan