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Iran, Oman to boost economic ties

Iran’s Ambassador to Oman Mohammad Reza Nouri Shahroudi explored avenues for bolstering economic cooperation in a meeting with Omani Minister of Trade and Industries Masoud al- Sunaidy on Wednesday.

Both sides expressed pleasure over the high level of political ties, stressing the need for bolstering commercial exchanges.

They also highlighted the necessity for issuing visas for commerce activists, developing infrastructure, strengthening transportation fleet and promoting financial and banking relations.

Al- Sunaidy, for his part, said that the volume of economic exchanges between the two countries has reached $1.2 billion, expressing the hope that the figure would hit two billion dollars by the end of the year.

“Given Iran-Oman good ties, Muscat is determined to further promote commercial, economic and political relations,” he said.

A short sea distance between Iran and Oman is a suitable opportunity for enhancing ties in all fields, he said.

Foreign investment flourishing in Iran

The UNCTAD wrote in its recent report, published in June 2017, that Iran has attracted more than $3.37 billion, showing a 64-percent growth.

The report also says that foreign investment in Iran had declined for a few years. But in 2016, Iran signed 3 international investment agreements and could get close to pre-sanction situation.

Mohammad Khazaei said that in the last Iranian year (ending on March 20, 2017) Iran received an unprecedented number of foreign investment applications from which $ 10.4b were approved of and the necessary guarantees were issued.

He added the number shows a 55% growth compared to the previous Iranian year.

Throughout the eight-year period before President Rouhani foreign investment agreements had been signed with Eritrea, Djibouti, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, the Comoros, Gambia, And Bissau Guinea. And after the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was signed on July 14, 2014, Iran has signed agreement with Japan, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Luxemburg, Iraq, and Tanzania; also the agreements with Czech Republic, Croatia and Lithuania have been finalized and are ready to be signed, according to Khazaei.

He added that regarding the provinces that absorbed the investments, Eastern Azerbaijan, Western Azerbaijan, Esfahan, Tehran, Qazvin, Kerman and Razavi Khorasan have been more successful than others.

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. Its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland, and it has offices in New York and Addis Ababa.

UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat. It reports to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council but has its own membership, leadership, and budget. It is also part of the United Nations Development Group.

The Division on Investment and Enterprise of UNCTAD serves as the focal point for all matters related to foreign direct investment and multinational enterprises in the United Nations System. It builds on more than four decades of experience and international expertise in research and policy analysis on investment and enterprise development, fosters intergovernmental consensus-building, and provides technical assistance to over 150 countries.

Iran Air CEO: Seven new planes to join Iran’s fleet

We are going “to receive another five ATRs until the end of 2017, starting in August or September, and a further eleven in 2018, bringing it to the total 20 we ordered. And from Airbus, we hope to receive two A320s by the end of the year,” said Farhad Parvaresh, Managing Director of Iran Air, in an interview with the American magazine Airways, answering a question on how many new aircrafts Iran will get this year.

“We are intentionally building up the new fleet slowly because we have to manage the arrivals and train pilots and technicians,” he added.

As to recent Gulf Persian region developments’ influence on Iran’s aviation operations, he said that there were about one hundred more overflights a day than before.

“But it doesn’t affect us in any way. There is no issue: Iranian airspace could accept many more aircraft,” Parvaresh added.

Last week, some Persian Gulf Arab states cut their ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. They closed their transit links, including their airspace to the tiny gas-rich Persian Gulf state.

He also expressed optimism over the renewal process of Iranian fleet, adding that “in less than five months we have received seven aircraft, and they are in operation. That is more than could be expected”.

Last January, Islamic Republic of Iran was delivered a A321 as its first new aircraft to Iran Air in over two decades.

Two months later, Iran Air received the first A330-200, and then 20 days later the second A330 as the third aircraft with four ATR 72s received in May, Parvaresh said.

Aseman Airline signs contract to buy 30 Boeing 737 planes

Minister of Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei and Head of Civil Aviation Organization Ali Abedzadeh attended the signing ceremony.

Hossein A’laei said after one year of negotiations with Boeing, the purchasing contract was signed today.

He said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Aseman Airline and Boeing Company on March 19, 2017.

According to the MoU, Aseman is to receive 30 Boeing 737 in the first phase and then purchasing 30 more planes will be in the agenda to equip this company with new generation of passenger planes.

According to the signed contract, Aseman Company is to pay 3 billion dollars to Boeing for purchase of 60 planes.

Aseman is to pay 5 percent of the amount and the rest of 95 percent will be financed by Boeing.

The first delivery is due to take place in 2022 and during 2 years Boeing is to deliver all 30 planes to the Aseman Company.

Iran, Russia underline development of economic cooperation

Vaezi who also serves as Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, is in the Russian cultural capital to attend the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2017).

The three-day event kicked off on Thursday with the participation of over 12,000 people including the incumbent and former senior officials of the participating countries and the UN representative.

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Petroleum for International Affairs and Trading Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) Mohammad Khoddadi and Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mahdi Sanaei also attended the SPIEF 2017 public and special panels.

During Vaezi and Novak meeting which took place on the sidelines of the SPIEF 2017, Novak as the Russian co-chairman Iran-Russia Joint Economic Commission, hailed the progress of the two countries’ economic cooperation in the past four years.

Meanwhile, Vaezi, who is Novak’s Iranian counterpart in the commission, noted that there is political commitment for boost of ties in both Tehran and Moscow in the second term of President Hassan Rouhani in office.

Rouhni was re-elected for another four-years in office in Iran’s May 19 presidential election winning a landslide victory with garnering 57 percent of the cast ballots (over 23.4 million).
The volume of Iran-Russia trade exchange experienced 70 percent growth in 2016, Vaezi said.

Novak and Vaezi discussed the roadmap for cooperation in various fields including oil, gas, electricity and transit.

Participants of the SPIEF 2017, reviewed major international economic and social challenges, Middle East situation, regional crises, future of the world and relations among the countries as the major topics of the event which was also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Iran, Russia ink roadmap for cooperation in energy sector

The roadmap for energy cooperation between Tehran and Moscow was signed in a meeting between Iran and Russia joint energy taskforces.

Iran and Russia energy taskforces held a meeting simultaneously with the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2017).

Iran’s deputy minister of petroleum for international affairs attended the SPIEF 2017 panels.

SPIEF 2017 opened late Thursday in a ceremony attended by the Chairman of Iran-Russia Joint Economic Commission Mahmoud Vaezi, Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) Mohammad Khoddadi and Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei.

Over 12,000 people, including the incumbent and former senior officials of the participating countries and the UN representative, are also present in the ongoing event.

Reviewing major international economic and social challenges, Middle East situation, regional crises, future of the world and relations among the countries are of major topics to be discussed in the meeting, which is to be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Iran envoy urges joint investments between Iranian, French companies

“We, in Iran, similar to you in France, are obsessed with boosting our exports in order to decrease our dependence on oil revenues,” Ali Ahani said Friday in a forum hosted by the Arle exporters’ association as well as the region’s Chamber of Commerce and that of the CCI Nice Côte d’Azur in southern France.

Ahani recommended the French businessmen to visit Iran to assess the vast capacity for cooperation with the Islamic Republic and to engage with credible partners to make joint investments.

This way they can produce their goods in Iran using the relatively ample advantages, and export the surplus after meeting the local market needs, he added.

Chief of Arles region’s exporters association Francois Delueze described Iran as an “important market” that should be given attention in post-sanctions era.

According to Delueze the forum was aimed at examining implementation of joint cooperation plans between Iran and France and considering suggestions offered in this regard by the Iranian envoy, the Chambers of Commerce, foreign trade consultants and exporters association.

Meanwhile, French company Energy Makeen’s chief executive Josef Brun, referring to high investment risks in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, said that the purpose of the forum is taking advantage of he big economic opportunities and capacities yielded by countries like Iran.

Some other issues, including exploring possible ways for French companies to engage with Iran’s market and removing problems and barriers ahead, were also addressed in the meeting.

The forum titled “Opportunities and Challenges of Iran’s Market”, attended by Saint-Rémy-de-Provence’ mayor Herve Cherubini and the businessmen of the region and was held in the City Hall on Friday.

Iran, China trade exchanges rising: Envoy

Speaking to IRNA, Iran’s Ambassador to Beijing Ali-Asghar Khaji said on Wednesday that Iran-China trade exchange has reached 21.12 million tons in weight in the first four months of 2017 as compared to the previous year.

Iran’s non-oil export to China has also registered new records and the Islamic Republic of Iran exported 11.59 million tons of non-oil commodities to China in the first four months of 2017 which shows 66 percent growth compared to the previous year, he added.

The envoy rejected rumors that Iran’s petrochemical exports to China has been halted, and said that petrochemical exports to Beijing have not been halted and it has even been growing.

Khaji referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran in 2016, and said that the level of cooperation between the two countries has increased to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”.

Int’l business firm to invest € 22 billion on Iran road projects

“The bank facilities, expected to be paid in the form of finance agreements, will go to the projects conceived by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development,” said Mohammad Taqi Norouzi, VNS Representative on Monday during a meeting with provincial financial and economic officials in this north-western Iranian province.

“The company, based on the finance agreements and memorandums of understanding signed between the VNS and Iran, is expected to invest more than 22 billion euros on road projects across the country,” Norouzi said.

He also encouraged officials in West Azarbaijan Province to exploit the investment capacities in the best way.

Eight billion euros of the bank facilities are expected to go to road projects in West Azarbaijan, Norouzi said.

VNS is a combination of international business companies which provide financial facilities of more than 50 billion euros to help develop infrastructure and construction projects in other countries.

With no highways, West Azarbaijan Province, in north-western Iran, has more than 12,000 kilometers of roads.

Official: Agreement with Shell to be finalized soon

He pointed to planning of the company to execute two new plans, including Ethylene Oxide project, and said that for engineering sector of the two plans, the MPC had negotiated with Dutch-Shell Company and two other Italian companies, like “ Techno-Mount”, and now is in convening contract process.

He added that it is possible the engineering contract with Shell to be finalized in the coming weeks and new plans of the MPC to be started.

Already director of investment department of National Petrochemical Industries Company Hossein Alimorad had said the company is negotiating with known European company with the aim to transfer technology and the agreement is the outcome of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is to be signed soon.

He said that the agreement with the European company is in the field of participation in creating joint license in domestic projects, which has plenty of applicants.

Iran petrochemicals products capacity is around 62 million tons now, but by inaugurating seven new plans it will increase to 72 million tons.

It is planned that the capacity will exceed 120 million tons at the end of the sixth development plan and such goal needs $50 to $80 billion dollars investment.

<div>France's Total to go ahead with major Iran gas project: CEO</div>

Tehran (ISNA) - Total will go ahead with development of a giant Iranian gas field this summer, its CEO told Reuters.

Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said the French group would make an initial $1 billion investment after the United States extended sanctions relief for Iran under the 2015 agreement.

Washington has warned that it could cancel the sanctions waivers if it believes Tehran is not curbing its nuclear program in line with the deal with world powers.

"It is worth taking the risk at $1 billion because it opens a huge market. We are perfectly conscious of some risks. We have taken into account (sanctions) snap-backs, we have to take into account regulation changes," Pouyanne said in an interview.

The offshore field was first developed in the 1990s, and Total was one of the biggest investors in Iran until the international sanctions were imposed in 2006.

Total has decided to return and develop phase 11 of the South Pars project in the Gulf, which will cost up to $5 billion.

Though one of the world's largest oil and gas producers, most major international giants including Royal Dutch Shell and BP have so far shown limited appetite to invest in Iran, due to uncertainty over contract terms and a sharp drop in global oil prices.

U.S. President Donald Trump's hard line on Iran has further cooled the investment climate, even though his administration extended the wide sanctions relief last month.

"The U.S. waivers have been renewed and they will be renewed every six to eight months. We have to live with some uncertainty," said Pouyanne.

Total holds a 50.1 interest in the South Pars project along with state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, with 30 percent, and Iran's Petropars with a 19.9 percent, he said.

The French group has also made a number of significant investments in recent years in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Brazil as Pouyanne sees the three-year downturn in the global energy market as an opportunity to clinch deals for cheap resources to secure strong growth.

Total aims to achieve returns of above 15 percent on every new project it is enters into around the world. That includes South Pars, where terms discussed with the Iranian government would be significantly better than in the pre-sanctions period, Pouyanne said.

Investors have complained that previous Iranian contracts allowed foreign companies little profit. Total worked on phases 2-3 of South Pars in the 1990s.

The new Iranian Petroleum Contract (IPC) differs from its predecessor by offering the operator remuneration based on production rather than a simple percentage of the development costs, Pouyanne said.

It also extends over a period of 20 years rather than seven or eight. "The IPC is a real improvement," he said. "We will not go to Iran if there is not a reward which is commensurate."

With U.S. sanctions still in place prohibiting trading with Iran in dollars, Total will finance the project in euros from its own resources.

Gas from South Pars will supply only the fast-growing domestic Iranian market and none will be exported, Pouyanne said. Total will be paid not in cash but in condensate, a very light crude oil which is a by-product of gas production.

South Pars is part of a giant gas reservoir that straddles the territorial waters of Iran and Qatar, where Total is also a major player in gas production as well as in oil and refining.

Tehran has indicated that the development of the project will not be hit by Qatar's diplomatic isolation due to a dispute with Saudi Arabia and some of its Gulf Arab allies.

Total is also considering a petrochemicals project in Iran which would require external financing from Asian banks, although this remains in less advanced stage, Pouyanne said.

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<div>Italy's Eni, Iran sign MoU for oil and gas field studies</div>

Tehran (ISNA) - Italian energy company Eni and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday for feasibility studies on the development of an oil field and a gas field.

The agreement was signed in Tehran for studies on the Kish gas field and the third phase of the Darkhovin oil field in southern Iran, Reuters reported.

"Eni's performance and pace of work have been outstanding in Cairo (Egypt) and the Mediterranean region. They are in a good position to study the Kish and Darkhoveyn fields," Gholamreza Manouchehri, NIOC's deputy for development and engineering said on Tuesday.

Eni will have six months to study the fields and submit its development proposals.

Royal Dutch Shell and Russia's Gazprom have signed similar agreements to study the Kish field. Philippines’ state oil company, PNOC, and Ghadir Investment Company, a subsidiary of Bank Saderat Iran, are separately surveying the Darkhoveyn deposit.

"The Kish gas field is a suitable project for Eni because the company's expertise fits the bill," Eni's chief upstream officer, Antonio Vella said.

Eni was involved in the development of several oil and gas projects in Iran before a series of US-led sanctions barred international oil corporations from investing in the country.

The projects that the Italian energy giant was involved in Iran included the development of Phases 4 and 5 of the country’s South Pars oil field as well as the Darkhoveyn, Doroud and Balal oilfields.

Eni is also active in exploration and production sector as well as downstream projects, including refining and marketing of petroleum products.

It is one of the world's major oil and gas contractors in engineering, construction and drilling projects both offshore and onshore.

An Iranian oil official said this month that Eni was also interested in the tender for development of the Azadegan oil field in southern Iran.

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Zarif meets Tunisian President, FM

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis.

Zarif met Essebsi on Monday, after being officially received at the airport in Tunis by his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui.

At the session with the Tunisian president, Zarif highlighted that Iran assumes no limit on ties with Tunisia as great potentials exist for reinvigoration of bilateral cooperation.

“Both countries possess large capacities for deepening ties and Iran is willing to exchange experiences in various sectors,” he went on to say.

The senior Iranian diplomat also voiced gratitude towards hospitality of government and people of Tunisia and conveyed greetings of the Iranian President to his Tunisian counterpart.

Essebsi, for his part, expressed sympathies towards victims of the two terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

He described Iran as a civilized country concluding that his country was ready to bolster relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

At a separate meeting, Tunisia’s FM welcome Mohammad Javad Zarif and expressed his country’s eagerness to develop relations with Iran is all arenas and voiced optimism that a joint commission will be formed between the two sides in early 2018.

Zarif, for his part, said no limits exist to development of ties between the two countries and suggested that a mechanism be shaped for regular diplomatic negotiations between Tehran and Tunis.

Other issued raised at the joint meeting between Iranian and Tunisian FMs included holding of Tunisia’s Cultural Week in Tehran, deployment of Tunisian trade delegation to Iran as well as regional issues.

He arrived in Tunisia earlier in the day in the final stage of a tour of North African countries. Before that, he traveled to Mauritania and Algeria, where he met with official and dignitaries.

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$8 billion Keximbank finance for Iran finalized

The better chunk of the two-part South Korean finance for Iranian projects has reportedly been finalized by the two countries’ officials.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyebnia met with the President of Korea Export–Import Bank (Kexim) Choi Jong-ku in Seoul and discussed financing Iranian construction and infrastructure projects in energy, petrochemical, oil and health industries, Financial Tribune reported.

In the meeting, which was also attended by officials of the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran, Central Bank of Iran and the banking system on the Iranian side and the top official of Kexim, “an agreement was reached regarding the $8 billion line of credit, for the finalization of which preliminary negotiations had started a year ago”.

The line of credit is part of a recently unveiled $13 billion South Korean FDI to be spent on Iranian projects, namely Isfahan refinery and eight Siraf gas condensates refineries in Asalouyeh, among others. 

The remaining $5 billion, which have yet to be finalized and agreed upon, is to be provided by Korea Trade Insurance Corporation.

In the meeting, the Korean official said his side is ready to support the projects and asked the Iranian delegation to formally introduce the projects.

Pointing to recent positive economic developments since the implementation of the nuclear accord last year, Tayyebnia said the potential ground for cooperation has made many countries eager to finance Iranian projects.

“The interest and seriousness of the Korean side can pave the way for the implementation of agreements signed by the two countries,” he added.

The Korea Eximbank, the country’s flagship policy-based financial institution, was established in 1976 and has been an active catalyst in the growth of strategic Korean industries such as shipbuilding, industrial plants and construction.

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Iran summons Swiss charge d’affaires in protest to Tillerson’s statements

Tehran (ISNA) - Iranian foreign ministry summoned Swiss charge d’affaires in Tehran to convey the Islamic Republic's strong protest to the US government over the interfering remarks of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

On Wednesday Tillerson claimed that Iran played a destabilizing role in the region and promised that the United States would support those elements inside the Islamic Republic which would bring about peaceful government transition.

“Following the uncalculated and meddling statements by the US secretary of state, Swiss charge d’affaires was summoned in the absence of the ambassador by the ministry’s director general for US affairs to voice Iran’s protest to Tillerson's anti-Iran remarks in the country’s House of Representatives,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.

The Embassy of Switzerland serves as the protecting power of US interests in Iran.

“Foreign Ministry’s director general for US affairs Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh described the statements by Tillerson as interfering in Iran’s internal affairs and severely condemned them,” he added.

Keshavarzzadeh dismissed the remarks as against the provisions of the international law and the US government’s international commitments, including UN Charter as well as its bilateral deals with Iran, saying that the US government should stand accountable to such remarks.

Swiss charge d’affaires said that he will pass on Iran’s message to the US government at the earliest and communicate the results to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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IRGC kills terrorist group leader in Southern Province

Tehran (ISNA) - The leader of a terrorist group was killed by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) during an operation in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan.

Molavi Jalil Ghanbar Zehi, the leader of the so-called Ansar al-Furqan group, was killed during the recent clashes with the IRGC’s Qods Headquarters in Qasr-e Qand Heights, according to the Iranian officials.

The body of this international terrorist along with four of his deputies and elements is now in the hands of the IRGC Ground Forces.

Iranian security officials had been conducting measures over the past 25 years to arrest this terrorist due to his numerous crimes committed in the southeastern Iranian border areas.

Iranian security forces have carried out a string of raids and arrests after a complex terror attack last week targeted the Iranian parliament in Tehran and the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, south of the capital, leaving 18 dead.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack. 

Qanbar-Zahi was wanted for an attack on a Shi'ite religious ceremony in the city of Chabahar, planning suicide attacks and killing police officers among other crimes.

During the operations which led to Qanbar-Zahi's death, the Revolutionary Guards found a car bomb containing 600 kilograms of explosives, 15 suicide bombs, 700 kilograms of explosive material and tens of thousands of bullets.

Ansar al Furqan is a splinter group of Jundallah, a militant group that also carried out several attacks in the province.

Abdolmalek Rigi, the head of Jundallah, was captured and executed by Iranian authorities in 2010.

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US government to act responsibly: Iran UN envoy

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian Ambassador to United Nations Gholam-Ali Khoshroo rebuked Secretary of State of the United State for his interventionist remarks in a letter to UN Secretary-General.

Here is the full text of Khoshroo’s letter:

In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful

Excellency

Upon instructions from my Government, I have the honor to bring the following to your attention:

1.  Mr. Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State of the United States, during his address before the House Foreign Relations Committee on 14 June 2017 stated "the US policy towards Iran is ... to work towards support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know".

2.  This statement is a brazen interventionist plan that runs counter to every norm and principle of international law, as well as the letter and spirit of UN Charter, and constitutes an unacceptable behavior in international relations.

3.  This statement is also a flagrant violation of the 1981 Algiers Accords and other treaty obligations to which the United States is a party. According to the Algiers Accords, "the United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs".

4.  Interestingly, Mr. Tillerson’s statement coincides with   the release of newly declassified documents that further clarify how the US agencies were behind the overthrow of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the popular and democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, on 19 August 1953. That CIA-backed coup abruptly interrupted the path of Iran towards independence, democracy and development and imposed and upheld a 25-year long dictatorship that left deep scars on the Iranian society and its collective conscience.

5.  It also came weeks after vibrant presidential and local elections in Iran in which more than 71 percent of the Iranian people participated. The people of Iran have repeatedly proven that they are the ones to decide their own destiny and thus US attempts to interfere in Iran domestic affairs will be doomed to failure. They have learned how to stand strong and independent, as demonstrated in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

6.  The Iranian government expects that all States condemn such grotesque policy statements and advise the US government to act responsibly and to adhere to principles of the UN Charter and international law.

I should be grateful if you would have the present letter circulated as a document of the

Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Gholamali Khoshroo

Ambassador

Permanent Representative

H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General

United Nations, New York

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Iran condoles with Portugal over lethal blaze

قاسمی

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi on Monday expressed deep sorrow over the recent deadly blaze in Portugal and condoled with the families of the victims.

A raging wildfire has ripped through central Portugal, killing 61 people and injuring dozens more in what officials there describe as the "greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years."

The blaze spread Saturday to the Pedrógão Grande community, forcing residents to flee the area to escape towering flames. Pedrógão Grande is about 120 miles north of Lisbon.

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Iran’s missile capability protects its citizens: Zarif

ظریف

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is in Mauritania, stressed on Monday that Iran’s missile capability protects its citizens in lawful self-defense.

“Iran’s missile capability protects its citizens in lawful self-defense and advances common global fight to eradicate ISIS and extremist terror,” Zarif tweeted.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it has conducted missile attack against Takfiri terrorists’ key sites in Syria’s eastern region of Deir ez-Zor in retaliation for deadly terrorist attacks in Tehran.

During the operation, the medium-range ground-to-ground missiles were launched from Iran’s western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan.

The missile attack killed a large number of Takfiri terrorists and destroyed their facilities, systems and weapons.

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“Soft warning” of IRGC to terrorists

دیدار میخائیل باگدانف ،معاون وزیر خارجه روسیه با امیر عبداللهیان

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian Parliament's General Director for International Affairs emphasized that the missile attack on terrorists’ headquarters in Syria’s eastern region of Deir ez-Zor was just a “soft warning”.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it has conducted missile attack against Takfiri terrorists’ key sites in Syria’s eastern region of Deir ez-Zor in retaliation for deadly terrorist attacks in Tehran.

“IRGC conducted missile attack on terrorist’s headquarters in Syria. It was just a soft warning,” Iranian Parliament's General Director for International Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted.

End Item

Rail Transportation Industry in Iran

Rail transportation plays important roles in freight, conveyance of passengers, reduction in traffic congestion, decrease air pollution and therefore this industry has become highlighted during the recent years because of its different advantages comparing to other means of transportation.

According to Iran’s 20-year vision document (2005-2025), length of railroads should be 25,000 Km while it is about 11,000 Km last year according to The Railways of Islamic Republic of Iran and it is far from expected schedule. Following figure shows length of main rails during 2001 to 2015. It illustrates that growth rate of added rails declined since 2013 and it was mainly because of imposing heavy sanctions on Iran. Now, 5,000 Km rails is under construction according to officials and different projects about 1,800 Km will be inaugurated until Iranian year-end in mid-march 2018. In fact, it would be anticipated that the pace of development in this industry has an ascending slope after JCPOA agreement. According to officials, some rail transportation projects will be initialized till autumn 2017 and it will cost around 650 million Dollars.

r1

According to chairman of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, Saeed Mohammadzadeh, 12% of all freight transport happened through railways in Iran. Last year about 40 million tons cargo transported via railroads while it must be around 80 million tons based on 2025 perspective document. Iran plans to reach steel production capacity of 55 million tons per year by the end of 2025 while last year, it produced 17.9 million tons. According to IMIDRO’s news portal, railroads development is highly correlated to expansion of mining sector, as minerals included more than 60% of all cargo transited through last year. To achieve target of Iran in steel industry, railroads network needs to sustain growth rate of equal to 8% annually for next decade. Following figure shows freight per year by rails.

r2

Two main restrictions of rails expansion in Iran are rail and wagon shortage. There are not enough rails to meet increasing demands of Iran rail projects. Akhundi, Minister of Roads and Urban Development, said Iran needs 300,000 to 400,000 million tons rails annually. Isfahan steel company inaugurated its rail production line with a capacity of 400,000 tons by 2016 year-end. While the ministry in a controversial deal committed to import 150,000 rails from an Indian company called JSPL (Jindal Steel and Power Limited) and also 115,000 tons from Karabuk which is a Turkish steel maker.

The number of wagons used for transporting passengers and cargo are about 2,200 and 23,000 respectively. Minister of Roads and Urban Development signed a preliminary agreement with Russian company UWC, United Wagon Company, to supply 6,000 freight wagons within three years, it means a 25% increase in capacity. This contract contains two main parts, first manufacturing and delivering 1,100 wagons by UWC and a joint venture agreement and based on this agreement, the rest of wagons should produce in Iranian companies through Russia financing. Iran also plans to produce passenger wagons, based on IDRO (Industrial Development and Renovation Organization) press. The following figure shows that the number of passenger and wagons per year which elucidate these new wagons can change rail industry perspective vehemently.

r3

Another quandary in rail industry is financing projects. According to Iran’s budget structure, 1% of oil and gas income allocated for this. Because of plunge of oil price since 2014, budget allocated to rails industry decreased proportionately. Last year Iran’s parliament approved establishment of transport fund with initial investment equal to 5 billion Dollars. The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development allowed investing the fund’s resources in infrastructure of transport industry and investment guaranties. Government uses some facilities to attracts more investments in this industry such as: reducing of tariffs and using of low interest loan. In addition, there is no increment in rail rate for cargoes, by this way, it would be an encouraging for cargoes owners to use railways instead of other means of transport. And also, last but not least is government’s assurance of private sectors for developing of rail transportation (guarantee of 1,200 km traveling per day for every locomotive and also the government will support exchange rate fluctuation for more than 10 percent). Another way for supply of financial resources of projects is using foreign financing like Tehran-Mashhad railroad project which has been done by Chinese bank.

Rail companies in Iran confront big costs named railways access charges. They pay many of their revenues to Islamic Republic of Iran Railways as access to railway network. Figure shows this cost as a percentage of total revenue for 4 active companies that provide services regarding railways. They include: Persian Railway Transport Development, Rail Pardaz Seir, Tuka Rail and Rail Seir Kosar companies that their ticks are HPRZ1, HRLZ1, TORZ1 and RSKZ1 respectively in Tehran Stock Exchange. These companies’ shares are trading in Tehran Stock Exchange. It is clear that they pay 40% to 70% of all their revenues in order to have the access right, except RSKZ1 that it paid lower access charge than others, mostly because it is a new investment in this industry and the government used it as an encouraging (also there are other transportation directives such as different access charges based on freight and passenger wagons). Saeed Mohammadzadeh said that Islamic Republic of Iran Rail (IRIR) plans to decrease this charge, especially in passenger sector it is aimed to decline this charge to zero. He also said rails companies are tax-exempt and free from value-added tax. Such proceeding could make this industry more attractive economically.

r4

In conclusion, although rails industry has many benefits such as reduction in traffic and air pollution and economic advantages, it needs massive investment. The government shows its resolute decision to develop rails industry by state-run investing, easing rules, attract and assuring foreign investment, empowering related domestic industries. In addition, rail exhibition had been hold in Iran recently which was a suitable place for simultaneous presence of customers, suppliers, consultants, investors and operational forces. All of these are harbinger of fast growth for rails industry.

Total to Make $1bln Investment in Giant Iranian Gas Field: CEO

(-0.05%) -2 3,745 price_dollar (2.34%) 100 4,270 price_eur (-1.5%) -74 4,857 price_gbp (1.75%) 18 1,028 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,770,000 sekeb (0%) 500 12,119,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,415,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,735,000 rob (0.4%) 10,000 2,510,000 gerami (0.01%) 120 1,138,980 geram18 (0.01%) 150 1,518,620 geram24 (0.01%) 500 4,933,500 mesghal (0.01%) 10 1,243.30 ons (-0.11%) -100 923.00 platinum (0.06%) 1 16.54 silver

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