Iran Is Already A Western Business Partner

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Econ 101, Iran Already A Western Business Partner

Iran is already connected to Western business and it’s only a matter of time before most sanctions on Iran will be dropped or greatly diminshed to irrelevence. As I showed here Iran is most likely to be begin the process of open Nat Gas sales in Europe in 2015. I shall post the articles here daily that further show Iran is well on its way to open business globally.

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Iran, Belarus Call for Broader Economic Cooperation
Dec 29, 2014
TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Iranian and Belarusian officials said abundant capacities, talented people and firm will in both Tehran and Minsk should be utilized properly for the promotion of the bilateral ties in various arenas, particularly in economic domains.

In a meeting between Iranian Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, the two sides vowed to do their best to pave the way for reinvigoration of mutual cooperation.

Nematzadeh, in the meeting, called for further improvement of bilateral economic, trade and industrial ties, and said that the Iran-Belarus Commission will be held in March.

“Tehran is ready to promote cooperation with Minsk in various fields of standardization, bourse, export of techno-engineering services and holding exhibitions,” he said.

Makei, for his part, said Iran and Belarus have a long history of favorable cooperation.

“The two countries can further increase economic ties,” he said.

Tehran and Minsk have in recent months increased efforts to start a jump in mutual cooperation. The two states have recently widened their areas of economic cooperation.

Iran and Belarus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on road transportation cooperation in March 2012.

Makei also had a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday, where the two senior diplomats welcomed further expansion of Tehran-Minsk all-out ties, and meantime stressed the importance of boosting their countries’ cooperation on regional and international scenes.

Zarif and Makei reviewed the progressive trend of the bilateral ties, and discussed regional and international developments.



Iran prepares to resume exports of petrochemicals to Europe

Dec 30, 2014

Plastemart News

Iran prepares to resume exports of petrochemical products to Europe which were banned by U.S.-led sanctions in recent years, according to Shana, the Iran oil ministry’s news service.
The Middle Eastern country made shipment of a consignment of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) to Belgium in week commencing Dec 22. The transfer, which measures 2,000 tons with a value of over US$2 million, will be made by Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company.



Iran Asks Norwegian Firm to Find Ways to Prevent Shrinking of Its Salt Lake


MOSCOW, December 30 (Sputnik) — Iranian authorities have appointed the Norwegian research company Akvaplan-niva to conduct a study on the possible environmental effects of transferring water from the Caspian Sea to salt Lake Urmia to prevent it from drying out, Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported Tuesday.”Regarding the vital environmental role of Lake Urmia, the project needs studies and research and we have tried to cooperate with high-profile experts in this field,” Mohammadreza Rezazadeh, director of Iranian Organization of Water and Energy Resources Development (OWERD) said, as quoted by MNA.

Preventing Urmia, the largest salt lake in the Middle East, from shrinking is crucially important for Iran, and will have a significant positive influence on the environment of the region. Therefore, following long-lasting negotiations, the Akvaplan-niva company has been appointed to carry out the project due to having comprehensive experience in environmental projects, OWERD research executive Isa Bozorgzadeh said, as quoted by MNA.

Lake Urmia is a salt lake in northwestern Iran not far from the Turkish border. It is believed to be one of the largest salt lakes on the planet. The lake has been drying out and the surrounding desert has been expanding in recent years, having a serious impact on the climate and environment of the region. In the last twenty years it has shrunk by 60 percent due to climate change and damming of the rivers flowing into the lake.



8-Fold Increase in Italy’s Imports from Iran
December 27, 2014

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A report released by the statistical office of the European Union (EU), Eurostat, revealed that the Italian imports from Iran in October have dramatically increased, compared to the same month last year.

صادرات بندر کالا

The value of Iran’s exports to Italy in October reached 65 million euros, showing an eight-fold increase compared to the same period in 2013, when the figure stood at €8.4 million, according to the report.

The value of trade transactions between Iran and Italy in October 2013 amounted to €91.4 million, while the figure hit €179 million in the same month in 2014, which indicated a 95 percent growth, the Eurostat data showed.

Italy was the biggest importer of Iranian goods among the EU members states in October, allocating more than half of the commodities the bloc imported from Iran.

The data also indicate that the total value of Italy’s exports to the Islamic Republic in October 2014 amounted to €114 million, showing a 37 percent increase compared with same period last year, in which the figure amounted to €83 million.

Following the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “constructive interaction” policy with the world since August 2013, a whole host of Western companies have been vying for Iran’s market, particularly after an interim nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) are in talks to hammer out a final deal to end a decade of impasse over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear energy program.

On November 24, 2013, Iran and the G5+1 (alternatively known as the P5+1 or E3+3) signed the interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva.



How Iran Uses Dual Citizenship in the Caribbean to Skirt Sanctions

According to Georgia’s commercial registry, all St. Kitts and Nevis nationals who registered companies there were born in Iran.

By Emanuele Ottolenghi

December 23, 2014

St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) is a miniscule Caribbean nation whose biggest employer is the state sugar corporation and whose currency features wading sea turtles and the visage of Queen Elizabeth II. It is also one of the most attractive destinations for Iranian businessmen seeking to exploit citizenship-for-investment programs to skirt international sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Thirty years ago, in a bid to spur foreign investment, SKN became the world’s first country to allow foreign investors to obtain citizenship. Many other countries have since followed suit, and in recent years, many more countries have joined this club by offering citizenship or residency fast-track programs through investment. They include economic heavyweights such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and several other European countries, alongside the older programs in Caribbean islands like Antigua and Dominica. But SKN terms for citizenship remain among the most lax in the world: no residency is required and a passport is provided within three months in exchange for $250,000 or a qualifying investment in real estate.

Since sanctions against Iran began to bite, Iranian requests for citizenship have poured in, and in 2011 SKN barred Iranians living in the Islamic Republic from applying. Iranian expatriates, however, may still obtain SKN citizenship, and all evidence suggests that Iranians who live abroad continue doing so in droves.

After all, for Iranians hoping to establish companies and bank accounts in foreign jurisdictions, the biggest obstacle of all is an Islamic Republic passport. A change of residence and nationality is often all that is required for them to prevent banks’ scrutiny.

Facilitating Iranian business abroad through citizenship-by-investment programs is now a profitable endeavor. Capital Immigration, a Dubai-based company run by Iranian expatriates, is typical: its homepage, both in English and Farsi, offers a variety of citizenship, permanent residency and overseas company-formation options, and prominently advertises the prospect of a SKN passport.

Perhaps the most visible case in point involves Houshang Farsoudeh, Houshang Hosseinpour, and Pourya Nayebi, three Iranian nationals whom the U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned in February 2014 for facilitating banking, money laundering activities and illicit procurement through a network of companies and a banking institution they briefly controlled in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, in the South Caucasus. Georgia’s commercial registry documents show that all three – and at least one family member – traveled and conducted their business in the region as SKN nationals.

Within the last year, at least five SKN citizens – all of them Iranians – have established companies in Turkey, trading in petroleum products, medical equipment, and wholesale import-export. Moreover, internal documents of Georgia’s Poti Industrial Free Zone show that SKN nationals have the second-highest incorporation rate, after Iranians themselves. According to Georgia’s commercial registry, all of the SKN nationals who registered companies there were born in Iran (Treasury eventually sanctioned two of them).

Though once hidden from view, Iranian exploitation of citizenship-for-investment schemes is becoming something of an open secret. In May 2014 the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (or FINCEN) issued an advisory “to alert financial institutions that certain foreign individuals are abusing the Citizenship-by-Investment program sponsored by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) to obtain SKN passports for the purpose of engaging in illicit financial activity.”

The growing network of companies for second citizenship and incorporating companies overseas suggests that citizenship-for-investment programs remains a lucrative business, and not just in SKN. Time will tell whether St. Kitts and Nevis, alongside other countries offering fast track programs to citizenship, recognize how these programs are being subverted for nefarious purposes. Meanwhile, Iran has found a loophole to visa and banking restrictions that enables its own middlemen to continue their nefarious activities under a new and more respectable identity.

Emanuele Ottolenghi is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies where he focuses on illicit financial and procurement networks at its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance.

Image: Wikimedia/J. Stephen Conn – World66



Peugeot in intense talks about returning to Iran


Company quit Iran after international banking sanctions were imposed on Tehran as punishment for its disputed nuclear programme.

TEHRAN – France’s PSA Peugeot-Citroen is in “intense” talks about resuming production in Iran, halted since March 2012, a top representative of the automaker said in Tehran on Monday.

The company quit the Islamic republic after international banking sanctions were imposed on Tehran as punishment for its disputed nuclear programme.

At an auto industry conference and exhibition in the Iranian capital, Jean Christophe Quemard, PSA’s operations director for the Middle East, told delegates the company wanted to return.

“We are in intense discussions,” he said.

“We have a long relationship with Iran. We have the strong will to create a joint venture covering the entire automotive chain as soon as possible.”

The United States added sanctions on the Iranian auto industry in 2013 but those have been lifted under an interim deal between Iran and world powers on its nuclear activities.

Iran was formerly Peugeot’s second largest market by volume and one in four cars in the country carries the Lion brand.

Discussions between Peugeot and its former joint venture partner, Iran Khodro, began at the Paris Auto Show in October.

Total car production in Iran was 1.6 million in 2011, but by two years later with sanctions biting it had halved.

The organisers of Monday’s auto conference want to attract foreign investment — with a population of 77 million the Iranian market is seen as untapped — but the conditions of a partnership are likely to change.

Under new joint deals, the industry ministry wants 40 percent of production to take place in Iran in the initial phases, rising to 85 percent after five years.

Iran’s Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said Monday that the country aims to reach a total production figure of three million cars by 2020.



Iran to introduce new oil contracts in March: Official

Balal offshore oil field in southern Iran (File photo)

Balal offshore oil field in southern Iran (File photo)
Mon Dec 8, 2014

Iran’s Oil Ministry plans to introduce new oil contracts worth USD 40 billion to foreign investors in an upcoming international conference in the British capital, London, a senior Iranian energy official says.

“More than 40 major oil industry projects and plans have been prepared in order to be introduced at the London conference, which is scheduled to be held in March, 2015,” Moshtaq-Ali Gohari, deputy director for Combined Planning at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said on Monday.

The Iranian official said that the projects, which include those in the upstream, exploration and development sectors, are expected to absorb more than USD 40 billion in foreign investment.

Gohari’s remarks come as many business delegations from different countries have visited Iran in recent months to examine investment opportunities.

World oil giants have also voiced their readiness to return to Iran following the easing of sanctions against the country in light of the implementation of Tehran’s nuclear deal with the six world powers.

According to Iranian officials, Spain’s Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum (BP), France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Lukoil have shown willingness for investment in Iran.



Tehran Puts $40Bln of Oil Contracts on Table for Foreign Investors

Iranian officials have said that Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, France’s Total and Russia’s Lukoil had expressed interest in investing in Iran when the sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program are eased.

MOSCOW, December 8 (Sputnik) — Iran will offer foreign investors new oil contracts amounting to $40 billion at an international conference in London to be held in 2015, the deputy director for combined planning at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said Monday.”More than 40 major oil industry projects and plans have been prepared in order to be introduced at the London conference, which is scheduled to be held in March, 2015,” Moshtaq-Ali Gohari was quoted as saying by Iranian television network Press TV.

Gohari stated that the projects to be presented to investors in London will amount to as much as $40 billion.

According to the Press TV, the announcement was made as many foreign business delegations seeking investment opportunities had visited Iran in recent months.

Iranian officials have said that Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, France’s Total and Russia’s Lukoil had expressed interest in investing in Iran when the sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program are eased.

The West suspects suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon under the guise of a civilian program. Tehran’s controversial nuclear activities have triggered the imposition of several rounds of sanctions on the country. In particular, the United States, the European Union, and a number of other nations have banned domestic businesses from entering into any energy, missile, and financial agreements with Iran.

Iran’s repeated claims that its nuclear program is aimed at satiating the country’s increasing energy demand have not convinced the West. Talks between international mediators and Iran, which were held in November 2014 in Vienna, Austria, failed to arrive at a deal. The deadline for a comprehensive agreement with Iran on curbing its nuclear activities in exchange for a partial easing of sanctions on the country was moved to July 2015.



Iran, Germany hold business forum in ICCIMA
12/7/2014 10:58:58 PM
TEHRAN, Dec. 07 (MNA) – A high-ranking German delegation of businessmen is in Tehran to visit counterparts in ICCIMA to boost bilateral economic ties between two countries.

According to ICCIMA public relation office, head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA)  Gholamhosein Shafei and Ali Akbar Farazi the deputy for international affairs, and Burkhard Dahmen, deputy-president of NUMOV, the German Near and Middle East Association attended a business forum held by Iranian and German joint cooperation to discuss economic issues.

Gholamhoseein shafei highlighted Iranian government policy in railway development. “It’s a good opportunity for German companies in railway construction to extend relationships with Iranian companies so as to share their experience in this sector,” he told the meeting.

He pointed to the long history of economic relations between traders of two countries; “since the past, Iranian nuts and carpets were the traditional exported goods to Germany and you can see the footprints of well-known German industrial companies such as Siemens in various fields of economy such as oil, gas, refinery and steel industry,” he asserted.

The president of ICCIMA appreciated the German companies travel to Iran and their willingness to promote economic ties, adding that “during the last 6 years, sanctions against Iran have been the main reason of record low bilateral relation between European and Iranian companies; we hope to have  more visits by traders to expand economic ties.”

“Water resources management and setting up latest irrigation systems are the most important consideration for government in next few years. German companies enjoy a good knowledge and background in these industries, which should provide a basis to develop relations between two countries,” Shafei added.

For his part, Burkhard Dahmen appreciated the Iranian hospitality and holding of business forum and pointed to German delegations’ activities in various sectors, such as oil and gas, mining, transportation, banking, health care, and nonprofit educational  organization.

“As Mr.Shafei mentioned, water management is definitely a global challenge in future and we have started access to these technologies many years ago and I think we can boost exchange of expertise in this particular field,” he told the meeting.

“The trade between Iran and Germany has been excellent for decades; but we are facing barriers and restrictions on business opportunities and problems of money transfer in the banking system definitely stymie our potential cooperation,” Dahmen Said.

He expressed German companies’ willingness to share their experiences with Iranian counterparts. “I am very optimistic for our potential cooperation in future in the case that sanctions is lifted, and our governments should find a way to reach a solution.”

“We should look to working jointly in the region; maybe there are some opportunities in some neighboring countries not only for providing machinery and our goods, but also for giving hands on a win-win situation by bringing the labor forces and engineering expertise to those areas,” Dahmen said.



Iran hosts 1st intl. tile & ceramic conference
Mon Dec 1, 2014

Saman Kojouri, Press TV, Tehran

Iran has held the first International Conference on Tile, Ceramic and Sanitary Ware to once again focus global attention on this age-old Iranian art.

Professional artists and prominent Professors from Italy, Spain, Australia, and Turkey as among the leading countries in the industry participated in this conference. Development of new processes, and technologies, formulation and body preparation, glazing and decoration, self cleaning and antibacterial tiles, Productivity, energy and sustainability and Raw materials and machinery as well as development of ceramic industry in Iran were among the topics discussed during the two-day event. With the annual production of almost 500 million square meters of tiles and ceramics Iran is the fourth biggest producer and exporter of this art in the world and the bulk of its export saves the country nearly 500 million dollars each year. Almost four billion dollars have been invested in Iran’s tile and ceramic industry so far and the country has plans to raise its tile and ceramic production to one billion square meters per year in five years. Iraq and Afghanistan are the main markets for Iran’s products. China, Brazil and India, have the largest share of global production of tiles and ceramics.


Envoy: Norwegian Investors Eying Removal of Sanctions to Return to Iran’s Market

Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:8

Envoy: Norwegian Investors Eying Removal of Sanctions to Return to Iran's Market

TEHRAN (FNA)- Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran Odyssey Norheim said that her country’s investors have suffered from sanctions on Iran’s economy and are waiting for the removal of all embargoes to return to the country’s lucrative market.

“I hope when Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) strike a final deal and the sanctions imposed against Iran are removed and even before that the Norwegian investors could begin their activities in Iran,” the Norwegian envoy said on Wednesday.

She underlined that Iran and Norway enjoy good relations, specially in economic fields, and the recent visit of Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende to Iran was an indication of the same fact.

On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that a large number of foreign companies are waiting for a comprehensive deal between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) to rush for investment in the Iranian market.

“Hundreds of foreign companies have prepared themselves to enter Iran in the coming months,” President Rouhani said, addressing a large crowd of people in Golestan province, Northern Iran.

In September, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Norwegian counterpart discussed ways to promote all-out relations between the two nations.

In a meeting in New York, the two top diplomats stressed the need for both Tehran and Oslo officials to do their best to utilize each and every capacity and potential to widen and deepen their relations in all sectors.

Iranian and Norwegian officials have in recent years boosted their efforts to further expand relations between the two countries in different fields.



Iran’s 1st parl. delegation in Mexico
Date: 12/3/2014 9:53:55 AM
TEHRAN, Dec. 03 (MNA) – The Iranian parliamentary delegation has arrived in Mexico City this morning and received warm welcome from the Mexican parliamentary officials.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Parliament is heading the delegation which is paying the first ever such visit to Mexico.

Gabriela Cuevas Barron, chairwoman of Senate Foreign Policy Commission and Sansors Sastry, chairman of Parliamentarian Friendship Group along with Iran’s Ambassador to Mexico Jalal Kalantary welcomed the delegation on Tuesday.

Upon arrival at the Mexican airport, Boroujerdi stated that the visit was in response to two previous visits by Mexican Parliament foreign policy chief and following his official invitation.

He also expressed delight over the first official visit by Iranian MPs after 35 years since the Islamic Revolution to one of leading countries in Latin America.

Boroujerdi also pointed to discussing ways to improve joint parliamentarian cooperation and expansion of bilateral ties as well as latest developments in the region and world as main topics on the agenda.

Chairwoman of Senate Foreign Policy Commission Gabriela Cuevas Barron, for her part, expressed satisfaction over the meeting.

“My trip to the Islamic republic of Iran changed my views toward this country and we believe that the Islamic Republic is a very important and influential country in the Middle East,” she stated.

Yazd MP Mohamamd Saleh Jokar and Fathullah Hosseini, Ghasr-e Shirin’s representative, have accompanied Boroujerdi on this trip.




We Aren’t Importing Israeli Cigarettes, Insists Iranian Minister

Iranian hardliners call Marlboro a ‘Zionist company’

By Thomas Wyke

November 30, 2014

Marlboro cigarettes

Iranian officials have had to explain Philip Morris Company is not an Israeli company(Reuters)

Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade, has denied that Iran is importing cigarettes from an Israeli company.

Nematzadeh said that an import license had been given to Marlboro cigarettes, but insisted that Philip Morris Company was not related to Israel in any way. Instead, the minister explained that a licence had been granted in order to reduce the illegal smuggling of cheap cigarettes into Iran.

Iranian media outlets revealed that the decision to allow the importing of 12 billion Marlboro cigarettes has not gone down well with some hardline Converstive Iranian MPs. The American cigarette firm has been called a “Zionist company”.

Complains were raised in mid-November, leading Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar, the head of the Article 90 Commission of the Iranian Parliament, to investigate the matter.

The foreign minister and the minister of Industry, mines and trade were asked to explain the decision.

“The Foreign Ministry, six months ago, sent us a long list of companies that may have ties with the Zionist regime and the name of the company Philip Morris was included in the list. But surprisingly the Industry, Mine, and Trade Ministry issued license for the company over a month ago, saying they couldn’t find any proof about the company’s relations with Tel Aviv,” said Pourmokhtar.

Marlboro is the largest selling cigarette brand in the world. Since it started in 1904, the majority of its cigarettes are manufactured in Richmond, Virginia.

The brand is recognised for its distinctive red and white packaging on its regular packets, designed by Frank Gianninoto.



Cuba, Iran among new offerings in Times Journeys program
By Johanna Jainchill

PersepolisNEW YORK — Times Journeys, the New York Times’ travel program, has expanded its offerings to include 29 itineraries that visit 36 countries on seven continents.

New itineraries for 2015 include places identified as having “troubled pasts,” such as Cuba, Sri Lanka, Colombia and Iran.

Times Journeys launched in 2012 with primarily cruise product. Earlier this year, it expanded to include 21 land-based tours.

All Times Journeys trips include insight from New York Times experts, primarily former and current Times reporters, into the events and history that brought the destinations to worldwide attention.

The Times works with tour operators including Abercrombie & Kent, Academic Travel Abroad and Mountain Travel Sobek, to develop customized Times Journeys itineraries.

In a press conference here with several Times journalists who will be hosting 2015 trips, the reporters explained that they would be offering tour participants years of reporting experience that has given them uncommon access to people and places in these countries.

“What we are offering is all of our stories over decades,” said Elaine Sciolino, speaking via Skype from Paris. Sciolino, who is hosting a trip to Iran called Tales From Persia, was on the plane that brought the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini back to Iran in 1979 and has been reporting about the country ever since.

“We are not travel guides,” she said. “What we have to say is, ‘This is where they fired shots into this hotel, and we were there.’”

Richard Bernstein, host of a March itinerary titled “A Taste of the Orient: Discover China,” was one of the first American journalists to be stationed in the People’s Republic of China, in 1972, and he opened the Times’ bureau there in 1980.

Sue Jaeger, manager of small group journeys for Abercrombie & Kent, said that the journalists offer complementary perspectives to those of the company’s own local expert guides.

“The guides live in these communities and can speak as locals, while the journalists can speak as visitors who have unique access as journalists,” she said.

Other experts include Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters such as John Burns, Jeffrey Gettleman, Serge Schmemann and David Shipler.

Times Journeys will be offered in six distinct trip styles: Activities & Sports includes hiking the mountains of Patagonia; Food & Wine focuses on Italian or Provencal cuisine; Arts & Culture offers immersion in subjects such as Irish opera and photography in Morocco; History & Context includes trips to China, Cuba and Iran; Science & Nature offers visits to Antarctica and Africa; and Politics & Perspective includes trips to Ireland, with a focus on the Northern Ireland peace process.

Automakers seek share at Iran’s car market

Men work on a Peugeot 206 at the Iran Khodro auto plant, west of Tehran. (File photo)

Men work on a Peugeot 206 at the Iran Khodro auto plant, west of Tehran. (File photo)
Sun Nov 30, 2014

Foreign automakers are reportedly seeking a share at Iran’s potentially huge car market as a final nuclear deal between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers is still on the horizon.

“The day the nuclear deal is signed… business will pick up,” an unnamed foreign auto expert told AFP, adding that German giant carmaker Volkswagen’s Skoda has signed a preliminary agreement with Iran.

The report added that other international automakers such as South Korea’s Hyundai and Italy’s Fiat are also seeking similar agreements.

Sanctions on Iran’s automobile industry have been lifted following an interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 in November 2013.

Germany’s Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen, France’s Renault and Peugeot, South Korea’s Kia, and Japan’s Toyota also confirmed that they will participate in the second consecutive Iran Auto Show on Monday.

US carmakers General Motors and Ford were also invited to the auto exhibition, where Iran seeks to draw foreign investment.

Representatives from the French carmaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen discussed a possible return to Iran during a meeting with Iranian officials in the French capital, Paris, in early October.

PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Renault are eager to retain their Iran market, where they “used to sell upwards of 500,000 vehicles a year” before the United States and the European Union toughened sanctions against the Islamic Republic in 2012.

Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro, which had agreements with Peugeot, Renault and Japan’s Suzuki, plans to produce 600,000 cars this year, the company’s production level in 2011.

Hashem Yekezareh, the chief executive of Iran Khodro, said, “We expect our former partners back in Iran but on the terms that we offer.”



Germania Airline opens branch in Iran
TEHRAN, Nov. 26 (MNA) – At the opening ceremony of the German airliner on Tuesday, DMD of Commercial & Field Operations talked about the pressures of sanctions that have harmed Iran’s aviation industry.

Deputy Managing Director of Commercial & Field Operations at Iran Air Mohammadreza Khoshnevisan attended the opening ceremony of German airline company Germania and said, “while European countries have not allowed Iranian aircrafts to refuel at their airports since three years ago, their own aircrafts from various airline companies including Lufthansa and Alitalia could easily refuel at Iranian airports.”

While criticizing a European airport for not even providing one of Iran Air aircrafts with lifting equipment to replace its flat tire, he said, “our religious and ethical teachings do not allow us to treat them in kind, and all European airlines that choose Iranian airspace are welcome to use our airport services.”

He noted that Iran’s aviation industry has been suffering a lot for more than 30 years under sanctions and said, “however, with Iran Air experts’ hard work, Iran’s aviation industry is still functioning and we hope that we will be able to connect Tehran to all parts of the world by increasing our flights.”

Germania Airline plans to commence its flight schedule from Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf to Tehran and Mashhad from February 25, 2015.



Boeing back to business in Iran, first time since 1979
October 23, 2014

Reuters / Jason Reed

Reuters / Jason Reed

 In a sign of warming relations with Tehran, American aerospace company Boeing announced it sold products to Iran Air in the third quarter, ending a 35-year freeze that began with the 1979 US hostage crisis.

Boeing, taking advantage of reduced sanctions against Iran, which agreed in November 2013 to halt all nuclear-related research for six months, reported it sold “aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts and data” to the Iranian national carrier.

Although no aircraft or spare parts were included in the $120,000 worth of sales, the news points to a better investment climate between Boeing and Iran, which is operating a fleet of rapidly-aging Boeing aircraft.

The US Treasury Department issued a license in April that permitted Boeing to provide “spare parts that are for safety purposes” to the Islamic Republic for a “limited period of time.”

Although the US aerospace and defense company is not permitted to sell aircraft to Iran, it said that more parts could be sold to Iran Air in the future.

“We may engage in additional sales pursuant to this license,” it added.

International relations with Iran dramatically improved following an interim nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of global powers in November 2013. Following the deal, the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany agreed to reduce sanctions against Tehran.

Since the sanctions regime was put in place, Iran has experienced its share of air catastrophes.

On January 9, 2011, an Iran Air Boeing 727 made a forced landing outside Tehran-Mehrabad Airport, resulting in 105 fatalities.



Iran’s Oil And Gas: Who Dares Will Win

By Katie McQue

Forbes Nov 11, 2014

For banks throughout much of the world, doing business with Iran is a daunting prospect.

“A situation happened where our CEO was quoted in the press, and it seemed like he said the bank was looking at opportunities in Iran,” says one banker based in the United Arab Emirates. “Personnel from the US Embassy came in and interrogated us. This scared us. The sanctions are so harsh they have warded people off. It’s worked.”

Most business brokered with Iran right now does not touch the banking system – they are shadowy cash transactions. Unless it is a state-to-state deal with one of Iran’s few allies, such as with China, he adds. Sanctions have consequently assaulted the Iranian economy, causing its GDP to contract by 5.8 percent from 2012 to 2013 alone.

Yet Iran’s commercial prospects could change fast. With the 24 November deadline for negotiations over the country’s nuclear program approaching, many corporations are gearing up for a likely easing of the sanctions imposed by the US and EU in recent years.

“The relaxation will probably be a step-by-step process over a period of years. Sanctions will be lifted gradually, possibly by limiting production and exports,” John Whittaker, a partner at Clyde & Co., an international legal firm. “What we’ve seen are a number of people going to Iran, looking at the market, they are looking to really position themselves so that they’re ready to capitalize.”

Mahdi Kazemzadeh, managing director of Afraz Advisers, an oil and gas M&A advisory firm, agrees: “Businesses need to be prepared. If you wait until Iran is open, it’s too late.”

The sector to spark the most interest is energy. Iran produced 3.2 million barrels per day of oil in 2013. It holds 17 percent of the world’s proven gas reserves, and 10 percent of global oil reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Sanctions in 2012 significantly slowed Iranian oil exports by restricting Western insurance and reinsurance firms from doing business in the country. European insurers underwrite the majority of insurance policies for oil tankers throughout the world.

Iranian crude exports fell to less than 1 million barrels per day in July 2012, when the insurance sanctions were introduced. This was a drop of more than 1.3 million barrels per day compared with 2011 levels.

Therefore, insurance restrictions would be one of the key issues that would need to be worked around for Iran’s petroleum industry to be revived.

New Integrated Petroleum Contracts

In the meantime, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is overhauling the design of production contracts it offers to international oil and gas companies.

No foreign company is allowed to hold an equity stake in Iranian petroleum assets. The petroleum’s marketing, transfer and sale is the responsibility of the NIOC, positioning the foreign firms as service contractors. The inability to book reserves has always been an off-putting factor to international players.

While this ethos is expected to remain, the NIOC is planning to introduce new production contracts that are a departure from the previous “buy-back” model, which required foreign investors to fund a full project and recoup those costs and profits from seven years of production earnings.

The new contracts, which are called Integrated Petroleum Contracts (IPC), promise a better deal for the foreign investor, says Kazemzadeh who is participating in various consultations over the new contracts.

“The focus is on sustaining or increasing production in the fields,” he said.

Iran plans to offer longer contracts — between 20 and 25 years. Foreign companies again have seven years to recover capex, but, unlike buy-back contracts, the recovery period can be extended if all the costs are not recovered in the initial seven years. An extra margin will be offered to those companies that meet certain operational production targets, adds Kazemzadeh.

While the terms on offer are still restrictive, it is likely that all of the major oil and gas players will compete for a piece of the action. Executives from European majors Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell and Italy’s ENI SpA have met with Iran’s Oil Ministry to discuss their potential return if sanctions are lifted, according to the ministry and companies. US energy firms, however, appear to be more reticent on entering the country. They were effectively banned from Iranian investments by the U.S. government after the Iranian revolution in 1979.

“What does a Western company need to be seen as attractive to business with in Iran? Money and technology,” said a private equity investor who has had frequent dealings in Iran. “Iranian petroleum is desperately in need of both.”



Indian Essar’s planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions


Employees walk past an Essar Group logo outside their headquarters in Mumbai May 20, 2013.  REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

Employees walk past an Essar Group logo outside their headquarters in Mumbai May 20, 2013.

 By Vivek Prakash

(Reuters) – Essar Group, a $39 billion Indian conglomerate, is looking to tap frozen Iranian oil revenues to pay for its steel exports to Tehran, in a novel attempt to work around Western financial sanctions against the OPEC member state.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) proposed the payment mechanism in August, potentially opening a new way to release oil export proceeds tied up in India under Western sanctions linked to Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

According to industry and government sources, and letters reviewed by Reuters, Essar has asked the Indian government to free it from paying its share of oil dues to Iran, and instead offset them against a $2.5 billion deal to supply steel plate to a NIOC affiliate.

The back-to-back scheme comes to light at a critical stage in talks between Iran and six world powers on its nuclear program, suspected by the West of seeking to develop an atomic bomb. Iran denies this. Negotiators this week extended talks on a deal to mid-2015, and with it an interim agreement allowing Iran to be paid for some of its oil exports.

NIOC declined to comment when contacted by Reuters for this article. India’s finance ministry declined to comment.

Supplying steel to Iran is “prohibited”, while dealing with NIOC “is very likely to fall foul of European Union and U.S. sanctions legislation,” said Jonathan Moss, partner and head of marine and trade at law firm DWF in London.

Another London-based lawyer who has advised Indian firms supplying Iran, however, said progress in the nuclear talks could soften the West’s resolve.

“I don’t see it being covered by sanctions,” said Sarosh Zaiwalla, founder of Zaiwalla & Co. “Unless it can be alleged by the Americans that the steel is being used for nuclear proliferation, it would be a perfectly legal transaction.”

At a Nov. 3 meeting at India’s oil ministry, which included the commerce and finance ministries and oil refiners, agreement was reached in principle on the deal, subject to final government approval, oil ministry sources said.


Critical to the oil-for-steel deal’s viability is whether its two parts are conducted at arm’s length, as argued by Essar, which was founded in 1969 by brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia and now spans steel, energy, infrastructure and services.

Essar Oil (ESRO.NS) said it imported oil from Iran in its normal course of business and paid for it in line with an agreement between Iran and India. Essar Steel India Ltd [ESRG.UL] exports steel plate to Iran through the State Trading Corporation of India (STC) (STCI.NS).

“This is in conformity with export-import policy of the Government of India. It is not a barter deal,” Essar said in an e-mail response to questions from Reuters.

The transaction could become a test case for the ‘smart’ sanctions imposed from 2012 by the United States and the European Union to increase pressure on Tehran to comply in the nuclear talks. India is not a party to these measures, but does back United Nations sanctions intended to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear equipment and materials.

Companies like Essar adhere to the Western sanctions, though, to avoid any negative fallout for their U.S. businesses. In 2007, Essar, which owns a steel plant in Minnesota, backed out of plans to invest in Iran’s energy sector following U.S. objections.

The U.S. Treasury’s spokeswoman on sanctions, Hagar Chemali, declined to comment on the proposed Essar deal.

The Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 lists steel as a commodity subject to sanctions.


India settles 45 percent of its oil trade with Iran in rupees, with the rest held back by the refiners who buy the oil. These unpaid funds are released as and when the West allows Iran access to them.

Essar Oil buys oil from NIOC, while Essar Steel agreed in January to supply steel plate to Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Co (IGEDC), a NIOC affiliate.

Deliveries of steel began in May, said a knowledgeable person at STC, adding that steel worth $100 million had been shipped so far. A source at the oil ministry valued the sales at $550 million.

Ghadir Movahedzadeh, NIOC’s financial director, proposed drawing on the 55 percent tranche of oil dues to pay for the steel deliveries in a letter to Essar Oil dated Aug. 26.

In the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, Movahedzadeh suggested Essar Oil could settle $1 billion in payments through this mechanism, and asked the company to obtain approval from the government and Reserve Bank of India to do so.

Essar subsequently approached the finance ministry to seek exemption from hefty local taxes on the oil funds that it is seeking to draw in payment for the steel exports.



McCain Helps a Business Partner of Iran

By Ben Jacobs  Nov 13, 2014

The hawkish senator is catching some flak from neocons for pushing a land sale that could benefit one of Tehran’s corporate associates.
Sen. John McCain, who once joked about bombing Iran, is now pushing for a bill that would benefit a company that’s in business with the Iranian government.The Arizona senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee is leading the charge on Capitol Hill to hand over 2,400 acres of federal land in Tonto National Forest in Arizona to Resolution Copper. The land lies above what may be the largest copper deposit in the United States and ownership would make it easier for Resolution to fully exploit the deposits. In exchange, Resolution will give the U.S. government 5,300 acres scattered across the state that the company acquired nearly 10 years ago to facilitate this land swap. If the deal goes through, projections are that the mine could end up providing up to one quarter of the nation’s copper supply and create up to 1,400 jobs in an economically depressed corner of Arizona.But there’s something of a catch. Resolution is majority owned and controlled by Rio Tinto, a global mining conglomerate. And that conglomerate also owns nearly 70 percent of the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia. Another owner of the place is the government of Iran.This connection with the Tehran government has drawn scrutiny from those concerned about the Iranian nuclear program.  And it’s put McCain—well-known as one of the most hawkish members of the GOP—in the unusual position of being at odds with some of his fellow neoconservatives.Gabriel Pedreira, a spokesman for United Against a Nuclear Iran, opposed any legislation to transfer federal land to Rio Tinto. He told The Daily Beast, “Our concern continues to be that the [Iranian] regime is attempting to enrich uranium for purposes of nuclear weapon, and the regime maintains direct ownership of a mine that produces uranium.” In his opinion, Rio Tinto has not addressed this provision of the comprehensive sanctions against Iran.United Against a Nuclear Iran, it should be noted, counts among its board members former Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was once one of McCain’s closest Capitol Hill confidants, and Mark Salter, McCain’s former chief of staff.Nevertheless, Brian Rogers, a McCain aide pushed back against UANI, calling the Rio Tinto-Iran connection “a red herring.” Rogers noted that Iran technically owns a share of a Rio Tinto uranium mine in Namibia that was purchased before the fall of the shah. Since then, all dividend payments have been frozen and Iran receives “no uranium or revenue from the mine.”Rio Tinto also reiterated that holdings in the mine are fully compliant with the current sanctions regime. Illtud Harri, a spokesman for the company, told The Daily Beast in a statement, “Rio Tinto has regular meetings with relevant U.S. government officials to discuss our shareholding in Rossing… We will continue to engage with U.S. officials, who have not indicated that they expect Rio Tinto to take any action in regard to its shareholding in Rossing.”Yet even if Iran is not directly profiting from Rossing, the Iranian government’s ownership stake in the company still raises some red flags.Jonathan Schanzer, a scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, noted that even while Iran is not able to benefit from access to the mine and steps have been taken to force Iranian government officials from Rossing’s board, a potential land deal with Rio Tinto and Resolution could still send “mixed messages” to the Iranian regime.

The concerns over the mine aren’t just about the connections to Iran. Environmental groups have long been up arms over the project, which would involve digging a giant cave 7,000 feet below the surface of the earth where robots will work to extract the copper at temperatures of as much as 175 degrees.

He saw a potential vote on the land transfer as “an interesting test case” for Congress, because even if a deal on the Iranian nuclear program is reached, “they’re still not going to have agreement moving forward about Iranian-held assets and Iranian-held entities.” In Schanzer’s view, it is a very complicated case even in the already complicated world of U.S.-Iranian relations.

But the concerns over the mine aren’t just about Rio Tinto’s connections to Iran. Environmental groups have long been up arms over the project, which would involve digging a giant cave 7,000 feet below the surface of the earth, where robots will work to extract the copper at temperatures as high as 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Athan Manuel, the director of land protection programs for the Sierra Club, said the mine was “a deeply horrible idea from any angle” because of the destruction of forest and damage to water supplies as a result of mining. Further, the San Carlos Apache tribe has opposed the proposed mine and rallied significant Native American support against any land exchange. The land involved is sacred to them and used to gather acorns for religious ceremonies. In somewhat hyperbolic congressional testimony, the tribe has compared the project to allowing mining “underneath the Vatican or Arlington National Cemetery.”

But the project hasn’t just been held up because of these concerns. Originally, when the land exchange was first mooted nearly 10 years ago, former Congressman Rick Renzi insisted that one of the parcels that Resolution Copper purchase include an alfalfa field owned by a friend and business partner. The alfalfa field wasn’t included but the resulting scandal served to slow the already glacial legislative process and contributed to the fact that Renzi is now serving three years in federal prison.

In the meantime, even without the land-exchange bill moving forward in Congress, Resolution is still taking major steps to go through the environmental regulatory process for federal owned lands as if the land exchange wasn’t going to happen. This would allow Resolution to take some steps to open the mine and make back some of the nearly $1 billion it has already invested in the project. The land exchange is still the preferred option. After all, as one McCain aide told The Daily Beast, it is necessary “in order to fully operate the mine and maximize job growth.”

The question moving forward is whether McCain is able to leverage his new status as a member of the Senate majority to push the land exchange forward in the next Congress. In the meantime, McCain’s nearly decade-long struggle for the mine has generated this rather strange collection of opponents—a diverse coalition ranging from Iran hawks, environmentalists, and Apaches determined to gather acorns.  But all are determined to use what leverage they can grasp. As Manuel of the Sierra Club told The Daily Beast, “Whenever you can link anything to Iran, it gives you more traction than you would otherwise.”



Iran’s non-oil exports rise 28% to touch $27b

TEHTRAN: The value of non-oil exports since the start of the current year has increased by over 28% compared with the same period last year, Hossein Tajour, the director-general of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran for renovation and administrative development, said, addressing a forum in North Khorassan province.

Noting that the technical-engineering, tourism, work force and transit services constitute the main parts of Iran’s non-oil exports, he said the Asian countries were the main destination of 93% of the country’s exports this year.

Iran’s Customs Administration announced earlier this month that the country’s non-oil exports have witnessed significant growth in the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21- October 22).

The value of Iran’s non-oil exports amounted to over $27 billion in the seven months of the current year, a report by the Customs Administration said.

It noted that 55 million tons of commodities have been exported during the same period.

Earlier this year, Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh announced that the country plans to further increase its non-oil exports.

Iran plans to augment exports of its non-oil commodities to $50bln by the end of the current Iranian year , Nematzadeh said, addressing a ceremony for inauguration of an investment project in Tehran.



Foreign insurers turn to Iranian market
Photo: Foreign insurers turn to Iranian market / Society

Chairman of Iran Central Insurance Mohammad Ebrahim Amin says the reinsurance market in the country has attracted the attention of foreign insurers adding that many applications have been received for the opening of their representative offices, IRNA reported.

Pointing to the official activity of Nasco broker representative office in Iran, he told members of the board of directors of the company that neglected capacities in the Iranian insurance market are many.

He expressed hope that the Iranian insurance market will be turned into a safe place for foreign investors.

Also speaking, Managing Director of Nasco broker representative office Gabriel Bejjani said his company is ready to enter into talks with Iran as the first contracting insurer in case the sanctions are lifted.

He said in terms of historical understanding, conditions of Nasco of France are very much similar to those of the Iranian insurance industry one of which is transiting from the stage of small economic institutions to the formation of large businesses and holdings.

He said the objective behind presence in Iran is to increase the level of interactions and hold constant relations in order to make a sound assessment of the Iranian reinsurance market.

Expressing satisfaction over the opening of the representative office, Bejjani said the Iranian insurance industry enjoys appropriate capacities and good experts in reinsurance field and expressed hope that with the lifting of the sanctions their activities will further expand.

He appreciated support of the chairman of Iran Central Insurance in the opening of Nasco representative office in Iran and said it is a turning point for utilization of potential reinsurance capacities in Iran.

In conclusion Amin referred to the presence of Nasco Company as a ground for the expansion of international activities of the Iranian insurance industry. He expressed hope that with the lifting of the sanctions and presence of foreign reinsurers the Iranian insurance industry can gain access to its real position in international markets.



Iran’s Pharmaceutical Exports Surpass $60mln in Seven Months

Sun Nov 23, 2014

Iran's Pharmaceutical Exports Surpass $60mln in Seven Months

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Customs Administration announced that exports of Pharmaceuticals from Iran have exceeded $60mln in the first 7 months of the current Iranian year (March 21-October 22).

Iran sold 4,224 tons of pharmaceutical drugs with the total worth of $64,586,678. The products include 0.33 percent of the country’s whole exports.

Iran exported 4,275 tons of pharmaceutical products during similar period last year which totaled $46,173,957.

The exports rose by 40 percent in terms of value.

Earlier this month, Iranian Vice-President Sorena Sattari underlined the country’s high quality pharmaceutical products, and said the health ministry plans to expend exports of medicines to Russian up to $300mln in the near future.

“We have exported over $30mln of various types of medicines to Russia since March,” Sattari said.

He added the country is conducting clinical tests on 7 medicines, and we can export $300mln of medicines to Russia.

The officials went on to say that sclerosis and cancer medicines are among medicines exported to Russia.



American Carmakers Invited To Iran’s Auto Expo 2014
Secretary of Iran’s Second International Auto Exhibition Sasan Qorbani said Benz, Volkswagen, Volvo, Fiat and Skoda auto makers would take part in the Iranian auto expo, adding that the US car-manufacturers may also join the event.

Nov 04, 2014

“So far, Benz, Volkswagen, Volvo, Fiat, Rover, Skoda, Renault, Peugeot, Kia and Toyota have announced readiness to take part in the second international auto exhibition,” Qorbani said, the Iranian students’ news agency reported.

He further added that Iran has also invited the American auto-makers. “In case of desirable conditions, General Motors and Ford companies will also attend the event.”

He continued that some leading car parts makers including Siemens, FORD Mendo, Busch, FRW and ACI would attend the gathering.

The official noted that 148 foreign guests from 30 countries would take part in the gathering.

The 2nd Iran Auto Industry International Conference (IAIIC) will be held in Tehran on December 1 with an aim of attracting foreign investment and presenting domestic capabilities and capacities.

Sasan Qorbani, Secretary of the conference, told reporters that with regard to the approval of strategic plan for Iran’s auto industry, the plan will be offered to the participants in order to specify orientation of auto industry.

He further remarked that during the conference latest laws and regulations of the country about foreign investment, especially in auto industry, will be offered to the participants while domestic auto companies will elucidate their overall plans.

Qorbani who is also the spokesman of Auto Policy-Making Council, said Iran’s auto industry is under severe criticism such as price, quality, after sale services, diversity of products and employment of modern technology, adding that grounds will be prepared for responding to these criticisms in this conference.

Meanwhile, he said, the opportunity has been provided for foreign investors to offer their demands for entering into Iran’s market.

Qorbani said car and spare parts manufacturers from 30 countries will be guest of the conference, adding that there is no restriction to participation of any foreign auto company.

He pointed to increase in auto production in the current year as a reason behind holding the conference and noted that in the first half of the year car manufacturing increased over 70% as compared to the same period last year.

Qorbani further referred to Iran’s talks with 5+1 countries and said if the sanctions were definitely lifted an explosive jump would be witnessed in the growth and development of auto industry in Iran.

… Payvand News – 11/04/14 …



Renault to buy 20% of shares of Iran’s Pars Khodro
By Milad Fashtami    Nov 16, 2014

Renault to buy 20% of shares of Iran's Pars Khodro

Photo Credit:REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
France’s car-maker Renault is in talks with Iran’s SAIPA Company to buy 20 percent of the shares of Pars Khodro Company.

Majid Souri, an official with SAIPA Company, said that by buying the mentioned shares, Renault will gain a seat in the company’s board of directors.

“If the nuclear talks bear results, our negotiations will be pursued seriously,” he added.

He went on to note that currently SAIPA owns 74 percent of Pars Khodro Company’s shares.

“Renault seeks to boost its production in the Iranian market,” Souri said.

Iran’s total car output has been increased significantly in the current calendar year, which started on March 21.

Some 625,540 cars have been produced in Iran in the first seven months of the current calendar year, which stated on March 21.

The figure shows a 71.4-percent increase compared to the same period of the previous year.

Sedan cars output stood at 530,313 in the mentioned period, some 70.8 percent more than previous year.

Iran produced 989,110 cars in 2012, which made the country Asia’s eighth largest car manufacturer.

Iran also stood at the world’s 18th place in the mentioned year.

China, Japan, South Korea, India, Thailand, Turkey, and Indonesia were Asia’s seven largest car manufacturers.

© Trend News Agency 2014



Italian investors willing to take part in Iranian projects

16 November 2014, 13:43 (GMT+04:00)



Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:44
Aviation Official: 15 US Flights Using Iranian Airspace Everyday
Aviation Official: 15 US Flights Using Iranian Airspace Everyday
TEHRAN (FNA)- Managing-Director of Iran’s Airport Company Mohammad Ilkhani said that Iran has the safest and most secure airspace in the region, adding that over a dozen US flights use the Iranian airspace everyday.

“A sum of 15 flights from US cargo and passenger airlines use the Iranian airspace everyday,” Ilkhani told reporters on the sidelines of the 7th International Air and Aviation Industries Exhibition on Kish Island on Tuesday.

He noted that Iran has 92 air routes with a length of 59,000 kilometers, and said, “We provide services to 70 countries by utilizing 10 radar systems.”

Ilkhani said that the UAE airlines with 170 passing flights per day rank first among the foreign airlines using the Iranian airspace.

In July, Iran declared readiness to open its airspace for the passing flights after Ukraine closed its airspace following the recent shooting down of a Malaysian plane in its sky.

Deputy Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Ebrahim Shoushtari voiced the country’s readiness to admit and allow international flights to pass through the Iranian airspace.

“After a request by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Iran voiced its readiness to allow flights from Northern Europe to the Eastern parts of Asia to pass through its airspace as an alternate route,” Shoushtari said at the time.

In August, Shoushtari said that over 20,000 flights passed through Iran’s airspace in a single month (July 21-August 22) without experiencing any security problems.

He said passing flights through the country’s airspace have increased 68 percent the said period.

Pointing to the recent developments in the region, Shoushtari said that the country saw impressive rise in number of passing flights through its airspace.

Earlier this month, officials in Tehran said Iranian aviation experts and engineers are working to increase the country’s airport facilities and equipment in a bid to attract more international corridor and transit flights by foreign airlines.

“We are consulting with international airlines in order to accommodate more transit flights through Iran’s airspace, but this needs a development of airport equipment, which is a project currently underway,” the senior Iranian aviation official told FNA.

The official pointed to the rise in the number of international corridor flights through the Iranian airspace, and said, “The foreign airlines are using Iran’s airspace due to its high safety.”

He noted that the number of foreign flights passing through the Iranian airspace hit a record on October 12 by reaching 1015 flights.

Following the Malaysian plane’s crash in Ukraine and closing the country’s airspace, he declared Iran’s readiness to admit passing flights which intend to change their route and use Iran’s aerial space.

A Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing-777 with over 290 people on board crashed in Ukraine, close to the border with Russia, on July 17.

The shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane occurred in rebel-controlled Eastern Ukraine by unknown persons.

In mid-July, Australian airline, the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS), announced that it has changed its flight path from Iraq to Iran.

QANTAS declared that it has stopped its flights using Iraqi airspace in the wake of the MH17 disaster in Ukraine to avoid using the skies over conflict regions, adding that it preferred Iran’s airspace for its regular flights.

A QANTAS spokesman said the airline has closely monitored flight paths over conflict zones since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine two weeks ago.

On Saturday, Head of Iran’s Cultural heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Massoud Soltanifar said the country stands 17th in the world in terms of flight security.

“Based on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ranking in terms of flight security we ranked 17. I believe that our ranking is higher,” Soltanifar said.



Greek Airline to Launch Tehran-Athens Flight in 2015
Wed Nov 19, 2014
Greek Airline to Launch Tehran-Athens Flight in 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Greek national carrier, Aegean Airline, announced its readiness to launch direct flights between Athens and Tehran in early 2015.

The Aegean Airline has added 10 new countries (the Netherlands, Malta, Kuwait, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Norway, Iran, Armenia, Croatia) and 16 international destinations (Helsinki, Toulouse, Deauville, Metz, Naples, Pisa, Malta, Amsterdam, Kuwait, Paphos, Riyadh, Tallinn, Oslo, Tehran, Dubrovnik, Yerevan) to its network for 2015, the airline’s website said.

Aegean Airline’s new schedule was presented by the management of the company during a Press Conference held in Crete, attended by Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni.

In March 2013, Iran’s national carrier, Iran Air, resumed its direct flights from Tehran to Athens after nine years of interruption.

Last month, Iran’s National Aviation Organization announced that a growing number of foreign aircraft carriers are willing to launch operation in Iran.

The organization said that, currently, thirty-three foreign airlines are active in Iran, transporting a total of three million passengers in the previous Iranian calendar year (March20, 2013-March 20, 2014).

The organization added that the security and safety of Iran’s airspace is one of the root causes of foreign carriers’ interest to operate in the country.

The clashes in regional countries, especially Iraq, has led flights whose destination or origin are the Persian Gulf littoral states or a number of East Asian countries, to replace their previous routes with Iran’s airspace.

In fact, many global aircraft carriers such as British Airlines and Air France have gradually changed their air routes and no longer fly over Iraq.



German flights to use Iranian airspace
TEHRAN, Nov. 23 (MNA) – A German airline will start its flights schedule over Iranian airspace from Dec. 15.

After the imposition of sanctions against Iran’s aviation industry, seven major airlines limited or stopped their air traffic over Iranian airspace.

Apart from these seven airline companies, thirty-three international airlines are currently operating in Iran and have handled a total of three million passengers in the past year, with some Iranian airlines able to fly most of these passengers to various destinations.

In recent months, however, correspondence with some of these international airlines has been taking place, and some have expressed a desire to resume using Iran’s airspace. Some contracts have also been signed with countries including Portugal and Germany which can increase air routes and international airline traffic over Iran’s skies.

Accordingly, the German airliner which has never used Iranian airspace for its flights before, intends to have planes from three German cities to fly over Iran’s airspace. These flights will be Hamburg -Mashhad- Hamburg, Düsseldorf -Tehran- Düsseldorf, and Berlin -Tehran – Berlin.

Previously, Director of Monitoring Airports and Aviation Companies Morteza Farhadi had announced that the number of Iran-Germany flights had increased to 12 per week.

This German airline with 23 airplanes including Boeing 737-700, Airbus 319 and 321, will commence its flight traffic over Iranian skies from December 15, 2014.



Iran flaunts sanctions, new U.S. R-44 helicopters ‘acquired through dealers’

Special to Sunday Nov 23, 2014

NICOSIA — Iran has displayed its success in evading Western sanctions on aircraft exports.

An Iranian company said it acquired four new U.S.-origin helicopters through fronts. Iran’s Helicopters Co. displayed the R-44 helicopters, designed for security and civilian missions.

An Iranian company displayed four new R-44 U.S. helicopters during the air exhibition on Nov. 20. /  Zohreh Saberi / Mehr News / AP

“They were acquired through dealers,” Helicopters Co. director Mahmoud Azin said.

Appearing at an aerospace exhibition on Nov. 10, Azin said the procurement of the helicopters proved that Teheran could overcome U.S. and other international sanctions. Helicopters Co., with a fleet of 25 helicopters, services Iranian crude oil fields.

R-44, designed for four passengers, has been manufactured by Robinson Helicopter Co., a California firm that also supplies clients in the Middle East. Azin said his company paid more than the standard price of $500,000 per helicopter.

In September 2014, the Iranian Civil Aviation Agency reported the acquisition of the R-44s. The agency said the helicopters would be used for training.

U.S. sanctions prohibit the sale of aircraft to Iran. But sources in Congress have asserted that the administration of President Barack Obama reduced enforcement of sanctions amid efforts to reconcile with Teheran.

Azin also said Iran procured the U.S.-origin Bell 412 utility helicopter. He said the platform would join the air force in early December 2014.

“We can overhaul the country’s helicopters and check them after every 3,000 hours of flying,” Azin told the state-owned Fars News Agency on Nov. 22.



South Korea Makes Crude Oil Payment to Iran Under Interim Nuclear Deal

By Finbarr Bermingham

November 26, 2014 08:36 GMT

 Iran's President Hassan Rouhani
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (Reuters)

Iran has received $500m in crude oil payments from South Korea as part of an interim sanctions relief deal reached on Monday.

The interim deal allows the Iranian government to access $700m in oil payments each month and was reached on 24 November, when failure to end the 12-year deadlock between Iran and six major powers over the country’s nuclear programme led to a new seven-month deadline being imposed.

Reuters reports that Iran has sold more than $1bn of oil to South Korea this year, with a senior source telling the publication: “We had to play our role, as the international community agreed to unblock some of Iran’s assets.”

Ahead of the last deadline, Iranian officials had been hopeful of reaching a deal with the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, but officials will be mindful of the dangers of dallying too long, with the political climate in the US likely to change in the coming months in a way that’s unlikely to be favourable to any deal.

US Congress convenes on 6 January with a Republican majority, which means it is likely that negotiations will continue apace over the coming weeks.

“Congress may try to scuttle such a deal but more likely it will pass sanctions that only kick in if the new deal is violated. This would lead to some real consternation from Iran, but probably not derail the agreement,” said Ilan Goldenberg a Middle East expert at the Centre for a New American Security.

It’s possible that with the Republican Party controlling both Congress and Senate, the US might push for further sanctioning of Iran which could jeopardise the entire negotiating process.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, however, has said that he is hopeful a deal can be concluded: “It is true that we could not reach an agreement but we can still say that big steps have been taken,” he said in an interview.



Foreign Companies Keen to Enhance Investment in Iran Stock Market
Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:42
Foreign Companies Keen to Enhance Investment in Iran Stock Market
TEHRAN (FNA)- Managing Director of Iran Industrial Investment Company Reza Soltanzadeh underlined that Iran’s lucrative market has persuaded so many economic activists worldwide to apply for more investment in the country’s Stock Exchange.

Soltanzadeh said Russian investors have voiced their readiness to inject 200 million euros into Iran’s stock market while investors from Britain, France and Germany have applied for investments above 150 million euros.

Australia and Norway have each applied for more than 100 million euros, Greece for 50 million euros and Arab countries for sums varying between 30 and 50 million euros.

“We have received serious requests from investment funds in Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, Australia and Arab countries for entry into secondary markets,” said Soltanzadeh.

Last week, an Iranian official said the country plans to attract more domestic and foreign investors.

“Foreign investment would help us meet financial needs, transfer technology, increase tax revenue, boost exports and production and be able to create more jobs,” Head of Iran’s Organization for Investment and Economic and Technical Assistance Mohammad Khazayee said.

Khazayee said that supporting domestic investors is also important as they implement infrastructural and fundamental projects which are the significant advantages of a country to attract more international investment.

Iran, on many occasions, has underlined that it has paved the way for attracting more investments in its ports, free trade zones, and development projects.

Meantime, so many foreign countries and international companies have voiced their enthusiasm for investing in the country’s projects.



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