Tags: Iran | Ned Lamont | business | Tehran | U.S.

Former Dem Politician Leads Charge to Open Iran to US Business

By    |   Monday, 04 May 2015 02:44 PM

While the Obama administration weighs lifting economic sanctions imposed on Iran, business leaders in Europe are on the ground in Tehran promoting investment, and a former Democratic politician is leading the charge to ensure U.S. companies do not miss out on the potential payoff.

"The Australians are there [doing business], the Brits, the Germans. It’s like Rick’s Cafe. Everybody was there except for the Americans," former Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont tells The Washington Free Beacon.

"The hotel [in Tehran] is a hotbed of deal-making," adds Lamont, the founder of Lamont Digital Systems who made the Iraq war a focus of his 2006 Democratic primary campaign against incumbent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.

While Lamont won the primary, he lost to Lieberman in the general election after the vocal defender of the Iraq War launched an independent candidacy. Lamont currently serves as distinguished professor of philosophy and political science at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), as well as running his digital services company.

In April, Lamont traveled to Tehran as part of a group of businessmen who are members of the Young Presidents' Organization, the third such trip to the region, reports The New York Times.

While in Tehran, Lamont was accompanied by minders from the Iranian government but did not seem to be bothered by their presence.

"They don’t want us to get in any sorts of trouble, or have an incident, but we have been mostly free to go around," he told The New York Times, which added that the former Senate and gubernatorial candidate was "bubbling with enthusiasm over the hospitality of [his] Iranian hosts."

When he asked "a reform-minded ayatollah" about the chants of "Death to America," he was told it was a relic of an old era.

"He told us, ‘This is the new Iran,’ such messages are hopeful and different," Lamont told the newspaper.

In fact, in a recent op-ed published in RealClearPolitics, Lamont said he saw very little evidence of signs bearing the slogan "Death to America" but "did see hundreds of billboards and memorial posters with black bunting hanging from street lamps memorializing the 'martyrs' from the Iran-Iraq war."

It is trips like the April visit that contribute to his belief that Americans misunderstand Iran and its people.

"There’s enormous market potential there in telecom and other things," Lamont, who is seeking to establish a satellite link between CCSU and the Tehran Business School, told the Free Beacon.

"There’s a perception of Iran that is somewhat one-sided in the American media. All you hear about is ‘Death to America.' I’ve traveled a lot in the Middle East. I’ve never felt more comfortable in a city than in Iran," he added.

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While the Obama administration weighs lifting economic sanctions imposed on Iran, business leaders in Europe are on the ground in Tehran promoting investment, and a former Democratic politician is leading the charge to ensure U.S. companies do not miss out on the potential payoff.
Ned Lamont, business, Tehran, U.S.
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2015-44-04
Monday, 04 May 2015 02:44 PM
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