Removal of sanctions will benefit both Iran and Turkey
The negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 - the five permanent members of the U.N, Security Council: the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China in addition to Germany - proved conclusive, lifting the sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program. What does this development signify for Iran and Turkey? Some analysts argue that Iran will act more foolhardily in Syria and the Gulf region following this development, which will pave the way for Iran to be recognized as a more legitimate player by the West. They allege that Iran will take the advantages of its rising economic power against Turkey on issues such as Saudi Arabia.
Although this argument is partly true, it is not hard to predict that an Iran that is involved in the international relations chain will act more timidly while embarking on adventures in the region. Furthermore, the idea that Iran and Turkey's interests are like apples and oranges is a myth. The issue of sectarianism, which is brought up in all discussions, is at least not a subject of distinction for Turkey. Above all, the nature of the common future between Iran and Turkey, which have the oldest borders in the region, is based on harmony, not contrast. Democracy, peace, security and welfare in one of the two countries will contribute to the reformation of the other.
Turkey played a significant role in the issue of the U.N.'s decision by holding a mediatory position between Iran and the West before the P5+1 took over. It took this step with the perspective that an Iran that develops within the bounds of international law will benefit its own interests as well. Moreover, it goes without saying that Turkey gave a boost to Iran during the period of harsh sanctions. Nearly 200 Turkish companies operating in a wide range of fields, including petrochemicals, home textiles, automotive supply and food machinery, invested in Iran while it was hit by sanctions.
Iranian-Turkish economic relations will have the lion's share of advantages that will accompany Iran's normalization process. The foreign trade volume between the two countries stood at $22 billion in 2012. Due to the impact of sanctions in recent years, this figure dropped to $14.6 billion in 2013 and $13.7 billion in 2014. Specialists suggest that this trend of economic affairs will be reversed with the removal of sanctions and the bilateral trade volume will easily reach $30 billion in the next few years. Bilateral commercial relations will mainly focus on the fields of health, service industry, shopping mall management, hotel management, contracting and engineering. In brief, if all goes well, Turkey will be a gateway for Iran to open up to the West as it used to be. Bilateral relations become more of an issue, considering that Iran has more valuable goods, such as oil and natural gas than before to export to the West. Indeed, the most striking thing for those who envisage a disaster scenario is that Iran's new goods will be released into the global market in an easier way. Iran can increase its oil production capacity by an average of 300,000 barrels on a daily basis, which will further push down the already tumbling oil prices. Beyond any dispute, it is likely that countries like Russia will not be able to endure such a competition anymore and will shake global markets. Furthermore, Iran will have the right to access $100 billion in frozen overseas assets.
These predictions and the expectations that the Iranian economy will grow by around 5 percent in 2016 and 2017 with the removal of sanctions is a nightmare for some, but such a situation is not a problem for the two long-time neighboring countries as long as they abandon some prejudices and see the advantages of a win-win perspective without being deterred by mischief-makers.