Why Iran shouldn’t get too Excited about Brexit

By Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Since Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (EU), Iranian media has barely been able to contain its excitement about this historic development.

Indeed, many pundits believe the result of the June 23 referendum could positively affect Iran’s dealings with one of Europe’s largest economies.

With the exception of the Foreign Ministry, no top Iranian authority has publicly commented on Brexit. Immediately after the vote, the ministry released a statement affirming Iran’s policy of expanding ties with all European countries and asserting that Britain’s decision to leave the EU would not have an impact on its approach. Some middle-ranking officials, however, applauded the leave vote.

Hamid Aboutalebi, President Hassan Rouhani’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, tweeted that Brexit could be a signal that the EU’s collapse is imminent, urging Iranian decision-makers to take advantage of the “historic opportunity” at hand. His comment proves that some, if not all, of the Iranian government sees Brexit as a political or economic opportunity that could strengthen Iran’s position on the global stage.

Indeed, two days after the Brexit referendum, Donya-e Eqtesad, Iran’s leading business daily, which is close to the moderate camp, claimed that a more independent Britain would be more beneficial to Iran than a Britain in the EU, especially given that the bloc has been pressing Tehran for years over its human rights record, among other issues.

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