VP: European firms willing to increase cooperation with Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said European companies are making increasing demands for cooperation with Iran.

“Right now many European companies have contacted Iranian firms and expressed their willingness for the expansion of mutual cooperation,” Jahangiri said.

The Iranian first vice-president underlined that Iran should seriously step towards development and industrialization.

“Iran is in a situation in the region and on the international arena that obstacles to its development should be removed …,” Jahangiri added.

On Sunday, Head of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture of Iran Mohammad Nahavandian also announced that the Europeans have shown interest in increasing the level of their economic and trade cooperation with Iran.

“In the (recent meeting of the) World Chambers Federation held in Hamburg, Germany, Iran’s new diplomatic approach was welcomed and we saw the European countries showing interest in exchange of trade delegations and studying grounds for cooperation, which was not comparable with the past,” Nahavandian announced yesterday.

He underlined that Iranian expatriates and foreign investors are much willing to make investment in projects inside Iran.

Nahavandian said Iran’s diplomatic moves have deep impact on the country’s economy, adding that once Tehran’s nuclear rights are recognized, removing the obstacles to the expansion of Iran’s economy and its presence on the scene of the global economy will be removed.

Iran’s new proposals presented in the Geneva talks with the six world powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) has been deemed as a positive approach which paves the ground for pursuance of diplomatic ways out of the nuclear standoff between the country and the West.

Earlier this year, two major European firms, Shell and Total Oil and Gas Companies, expressed their willingness to resume operation in Iran.

Lifting sanctions and opening up Iran’s vast oil and gas resources to global companies will be vital to meeting the world’s future energy needs, the chief executives of two of Europe’s top oil companies said.

Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, and Christophe de Margerie, his counterpart at France’s Total, used the Oil & Money conference in London on Tuesday to highlight the potential energy windfall if sanctions preventing international oil companies from dealing with Tehran were lifted, the Telegraph reported.

“Longer term, Iran’s oil and gas resources will have to be developed to meet demand,” Telegraph quoted Voser as saying.

He was echoed by de Margerie, who said that he hoped doing business with Iran would again be permitted “as soon as possible, not just for Total but for the world and for Iran. Any country cannot stay out of the system.”

Before the tightening of sanctions against Iran a few years ago, Shell and Total were two of the most active companies doing business with Tehran.

In 1999, Shell defied a US sanctions threat to sign an estimated $800mln (£492mln) deal with Iran to develop two offshore oil fields in the Persian Gulf known as Soroosh and Nowrooz.

The project was completed in 2005. Until 2009, Total was involved in the drawn-out development of Iran’s vast South Pars natural gas field, also in the Persian Gulf’s waters.

Shell was reportedly blocked earlier this year from settling a $2.3bln debt with Iran through the supply of grain and medicine.

Iran is under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.

Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, saying that renouncing its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would encourage the world powers to put further pressure on the country and would not lead to a change in the West’s hardline stance on Tehran.

Iran has also insisted that it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the Southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the Southern port city of Bushehr.

Tehran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.

By Fars News Agency


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