Syria, Seeking Investors, Turns to Iran

[New York Times] Hugh Naylor - Ahmed Ansare's petroleum recycling business, the Damascus Petrochemical Refinery Company, was the first private Iranian company to set foot in Syria in 2003, the first of many, it now seems. "Billions of dollars of Iranian projects are expected to be coming here now," said Ansare, an Iranian citizen. From car manufacturing plants and a proposed $2 billion industrial zone for Iranian businesses, to plans to overhaul urban transportation systems, Iranian companies are charging into Syria, looking to cash in on a recent privatization push by Damascus. The Syrian government estimates that Iranian investment in 2006 alone surged to more than $400 million, making Tehran the third-largest foreign investor, behind Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In addition, more than half a million Iranian tourists, mainly pilgrims, flock to shrines in Syria every year.

2007-10-05 01:00:00

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