In January 2016, the West’s decision to end its long-held sanctions of Iran freed up $70 billion in Iranian assets and opened the doors for a massive spending spree. Experts are now predicting as much as $10 billion will be spent in the Western European property sector alone over the next 5 years, but will these investors also be looking to purchase EU citizenship and move to Europe permanently?
Within the space of seven months, two seismic occurrences changed Iran’s economic landscape dramatically; in July 2015, the United Nations Security Council agreed to allow Iran to proceed with its nuclear energy program, and in January 2016 the West ended sanctions against the country. An estimated $70 billion in Iranian assets that had been previously frozen were now free to be utilized.
There was fresh hope that Iran could once again become a major player in the Middle Eastern economic and financial stakes, and compete with powerhouses like the UAE and Qatar as well as their old sparring partner Saudi Arabia.
It soon became obvious that both private and state-backed investors were keen to spend some of their billions in Europe, and property experts like Becky Fatemi, the Iranian-born managing director of London-based luxury realtors Rokstone predicted that there would be massive investment from Iran into the UK capital’s high-end property market and forecast £6 billion in purchases over the ensuing decade.
The Brexit Factor
However what Fatemi and others experts failed to foresee was Brexit, and the British public narrowly voting to leave the European Union in June 2016. Suddenly London did not quite have the appeal of other European cities like Paris, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona or Rome. The sharp rise in racism in the UK in the months that followed the referendum was a further concern. While London (which has an Iranian community of more than 80,000 people) was still appealing, interest was spread evenly throughout Western Europe’s major cities.
There are a lot of extremely wealthy Iranians desperate to invest their money in the West. Market research specialists NewWorldWealth.com claim Iran has some 32,000 high net worth individuals (including 65 worth over $100m and four billionaires). If Iran can remain sanction-free, that figure is expected to rise to around 50,000 over the next decade. However it’s a big “if”.
The Trump Factor
Another inescapable and potentially impending dilemma is the looming, devise figure of Donald Trump. Should Trump win the US Presidency in November, how would it effect Iran’s future? Trump and the majority of Republicans were furious with the deal President Obama signed with Iran in January, and they were almost unanimous in declaring that should they win the election, that deal will be torn up. If that happens, the Iranian government have shown a talent for antagonizing the West when things don’t go their way, and should that be the case, it’s possible that Iran once again will be threatened with the sanctions that for so long crippled its economy.
Iran’s ongoing saber-rattling with Middle-Eastern neighbors Saudi Arabia won’t help their cause either. For better or worse, Saudi Arabia has been regarded as a Western ally since it began selling them its oil back in the 1930s, when it comes to picking sides, it’s clear who Europe and the US will be siding with.
CBI – The Answer For Wealthy Iranians?
Historically, when they have chosen to leave their homeland, wealthy Iranians have thrived in other countries – particularly the US, where there are some 500,000 -1,000,000 Â American-Iranians. There are some 120,000 Iranians living in Germany, while London alone has a large community of some 83,000 Iranians. Many of these people fled Iran following the fall of the Shah during the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and have now had families in their new countries.
Iranians are among the highest educated of all Middle Easterners, and tend to adapt well to any country they choose to make their home. There has been a steady stream of Iranians who have gained a second Â passport via a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, but specialists like 2ndPassports.com are now reporting a clamor for EU citizenship from Iran, and that is only likely to increase in the near future.
Citizenship by Investment is the practice of high net worth individuals making a specific and substantial investment into the infrastructure of the country other than their own, and in return receiving the citizenship and passport of that country. EU nations that have CBI programs include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary and Malta. Prices can range from less than $100,000 to several million.
Iranians who have been given a taste of life in the West will now dread a return to the dark days of sanctions. Those high net-worth individuals who have made enough money to start afresh with their families in a new country will be seriously weighing up their options. Should they stay in their homeland and risk an erosion of their capital or worse still, government confiscation of their assets should sanctions return, or purchase property and start a new business in an EU country?
2ndPassports.com have reported a noticeable increase in applicants from Iran, and only expect that number to grow, especially Â if Donald Trump is elected US President. As 2ndPassports.com’s Middle Eastern expert Chad Everett stated:
“If you compare our applicants from Iran to a dripping tap, this year it’s gone from a trickle to a steady stream, but if Trump wins in November it will suddenly be a busted faucet scenario, with thousands of high net-worth Iranians desperate to gain EU citizenship and move to the West. It will be like a millionaires version of the current European migrant crisis!”
If you are an Iranian and you would like more information regarding the CBI programs featured on the 2ndPassports.com homepage, both in Europe and the Caribbean, feel free to contact us for more information. You can email or message us via WhatsApp or Telegram, or if you prefer, you can phone or Skype us and speak directly to one of our expert representatives, all in the strictest confidence. You will find all of 2ndPassports.com’s contact details on our homepage.
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