World’s Top Insulin Maker to Build Plant in Iran

The world's top insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, said on Tuesday it would build a 70 million euro ($78 million) facility in Iran, signaling its "long-term commitment" to the country.

"We are happy to commit to this manufacturing facility in Iran," Ole Moelskov Bech, who heads part of the group's Middle East business, said in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency.

"It signals our long-term commitment to Iran, a country where close to five million people have diabetes," he added.

The Danish company said the manufacturing plant would produce its FlexPen insulin pens and that it would take five years to complete.

Medication is exempt from the sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, and Novo Nordisk has sold its products in the country through a subsidiary since 2005.

However, restrictions on banking and technology have made conducting business in Iran harder for the company.

"There are prospects for significant growth in Iran's economy, and that also means you can better afford investing in healthcare," Bech was quoted as having told the Danish news agency Ritzau.

The nuclear deal between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States aims to curb Tehran's nuclear drive in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on its economy since 2006.

The lifting of sanctions, expected from 2016, is expected to return much-awaited foreign investment to Iran, a country rich with oil and gas resources and a population of almost 80 million.

The announcement from Novo Nordisk came a day after France opened a business development office in Tehran seeking to renew once-strong economic ties with Iran  after the July 14 nuclear deal, in the face of what it said was "fierce competition" from other European and American firms.

Since the deal was signed, several European countries have reached out to Iran in an attempt to restore economic and diplomatic ties.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer recently travelled to Tehran, where he met Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and also attended an economic conference on Iranian-Austrian relations.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he plans to travel to Iran in October, the latest sign that Europe's largest economy wants to quickly rebuild economic and political ties with the Islamic Republic.

Steinmeier's visit follows a three-day trip over the summer by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who became the first senior figure from a large Western government to visit Tehran since it struck a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers.

Following his July visit to Tehran, Gabriel faced criticism local Jewish groups and opposition lawmakers, but he brushed it off, saying the earlier sanctions against Iran only had "one concrete reason and that was the nuclear negotiations."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Yom Kippur in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200987

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