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(Yonhap Interview) Tehran mayor hopes for Korean firms' investment in Iran

2017/10/20 21:28

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By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi on Friday expressed hopes for South Korean companies' investment in the country, especially in the construction, manufacturing and energy sectors.

He was in Korea to attend the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, an international mayors' forum jointly hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and OECD.

"I met with a dozen Korean industries to talk about business opportunities... We expect their participation in our city transportation projects, such as the construction of metro lines and other infrastructure," he said in a media interview.

On Wednesday, Najafi and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon signed a memorandum of understanding to expand economic cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two cities.

"I believe that mayors have the responsibility in the world today to bring improvement to the people in a way that all walks of life can benefit from it... In that regard, I hope that Seoul and Tehran will continue to expand comprehensive cooperation."

  

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi speaks during a media interview held in Seoul on Oct. 20, 2017. (Yonhap) Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi speaks during a media interview held in Seoul on Oct. 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

The scholar-turned-politician took office in August. As an expert in mathematics, Najafi, 65, also served as the education minister from 1989-1997 under the reformist Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani government.

He is known to be a close aide of current President Hassan Rouhani who came to power in 2013.

Najafi also said he expects Iran's 2015 nuclear accord with world powers will not collapse despite President Donald Trump's refusal to recertify that Tehran is complying with it.

"Many things he said were never realized, including the threats he made against North Korea," he said.

Najafi noted five other world powers which signed the deal are still committed to it.

"We should wait and see," he said. "If they (U.S.) do, we will (determine) the matter to our own interest."

   The issue has drawn attention here as the Iran deal's possible collapse will likely negatively affect any chance of a negotiated end to North Korea's nuclear programs.

elly@yna.co.kr

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