Iranian business activities in Georgia infuriates US
Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:59PM
U-S's unilateral sanctions on Iran have prompted Iranian businessmen to seek new ways to improve trade activities overseas. Accoring to The Wall Street Journal, Iranian investments in Georgia have increased sharply over the past two years.Georgia is considered one of the closest US allies, but it is also a country having visa free travel rules and friendly relations with Iran. Farhad Shademan is one of Iranian nationals, who came to visit Georgia three years ago and decided to stay here. The reason behind his decision was a low living cost compared to other countries and opportunities to start a business with a little money. Since then, he has run a small cafe in the center of Tbilisi. An increase in number of Iranian businesses recently opened in Georgia, has raised US suspicions over the matter. Delegations from U-S Treasury have visited Tbilisi in recent months to discuss importance of combating those activities. American professor of Iranian origin Henry Safavi strongly believes that Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Iran have been politically-motivated. He says he can hardly believe that Iran could have used Georgia for evading sanctions or money laundering. Although, the government of Georgia froze about 150 bank accounts of Iranian individuals and legal entities, they still believe that attractive business conditions in the country have grabbed the attention of Iranian enterprises. The country's officials have promised to examine all "suspicious" deals, but said they will be surprised if any evasion cases are confirmed. According to Georgian Minister of Justice, the authorities are closely monitoring business activities of Iranian nationals in Georgia and keep strict control over enforcement of sanctions against Iran. But at the same time, increase in any business activities in the country does not necessarily imply Georgia's violation of any international resolutions passed by the U-N Security Council.