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23% increase in Asian imports of Iranian oil

23% increase in Asian imports of Iranian oil - Mehr News Agency صادرات ورادات نفت TEHRAN, Jun. 01 (MNA) – The four biggest buyers of Iranian crude oil in Asia increased their imports in April by nearly 23% from a year earlier, Reuters reports.

According to Reuters’ report based on government and ship-tracking data, the four major buyers of Iranian crude oil in Asia including China, India, South Korea and Japan imported 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) last month.

In the first four months of 2017, the four Asian countries imported 1.8 million bpd, a 40 percent rise from the same period last year.

Official data released Wednesday by Japan's trade ministry showed Iranian imports were at 41,401 bpd last month, more than double the figure from a year earlier.

In the same period, China imported 641,084 bpd, India 535,100 bpd, and South Korea 403,700 bpd of Iranian oil. 


Austria’s OMV to develop Bande Karkhe field

Austria’s OMV to develop Bande Karkhe field - Mehr News Agency میادین غرب کارون TEHRAN, May 31 (MNA) – An oil official said Austrian integrated oil and gas company, OMV, will resume activities to develop Bande Karkhe oilfield in the near future.

Alireza Zamani, Executive Manager of the project to develop Bande Karkheh oilfield, recalled OMV, the international, integrated oil and gas company based in Vienna, had discovered and begun production at the Iranian field adding “the operation was carried out through an exploration and development contract between National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and OMV.”

“With imposition of international sanctions against Iran, the Austrian firm put an end to its developmental projects in Bande Karkhe field,” stated the official noting that, due to the halt, a new contract was signed between Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) and SATA Investment Company for an output level of 20,000 barrels in the first phase.

Given the removal of sanctions and the obtained resolutions in post-JCPOA era, OMV expressed readiness to return to the Iranian field and make investments for its development and inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MATN company.

OMV, which had signed a preliminary agreement in January to study Bande Karkheh Oilfield, will take charge of the field's development under a new style of contracts, known as Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC), said Zamani, who supervises the field's development.

“The feasibility of Bande Karkheh field has been proven by OMV and the Austrian company will develop the field in a contract with the NIOC,” he underlined.

He went on to state that OMV had submitted a proposal to develop Bande Karkheh following an agreement in January to conduct a survey on the reservoir. It has also discussed the terms of the proposal in meetings with NIOC officials.

A meeting is schduled to take place between OMV executives and the NIOC in Tehran on Wednesday to mull over procedures and technicalities of the proposal.

The contract for Bande Karkheh project is expected to be finalized within 6 to 8 months. The new oil contracts will be used to develop the field.

The main reservoirs in Bande Karkheh are Ilam and Sarvak formations. The Ilam layer is estimated to contain two billion barrels of oil in-place and Sarvak is estimated to hold 1.9 billion barrels in-place.

OMV is also in negotiations with the NIOC to sign a long-term oil export contract. It purchased 1 million barrels of Iranian crude in September as its first cargo since 2012.


Iran builds ME’s 1st mobile power plant

Iran builds ME’s 1st mobile power plant - Mehr News Agency mobile power plant TEHRAN, May 31 (MNA) – MAPNA Group has constructed the first ever mobile power station of the Middle East with a capacity of 25 megawatts.

MAPNA, Iran's largest power plant EPC contractor, built and implemented the 25-megawatt mobile power plants in two northern Iranian cities.

The newly-implemented power houses were successfully synchronized in Noshahr and Behshahr. The 25-MW mobile power plant of MAPNA Group can be prepared, installed and launched in less than three months. The station can enter the electricity grid in less than 25 minutes can functions under both gas and diesel fuel.

Mobile power station units are portable generators which are ready to start once they arrive at a site and receive gas or diesel fuel.

Mobile gas turbine generator is normally a fast power solution or for generating backup power during natural disaster relief, plant shutdowns or grid instability while in other cases, when the amount of power injection into a city is inadequate or ineffective blackouts need to be prevented, mobile power stations prove to be a suitable solution.

Operation of mobile stations is prevalent in several countries due to easy transport and quick installation capabilities. These stations mark important and fast solutions in areas where immediate supply of electrical energy is needed. Another advantage of the portable units is that they require limited space for operation which offers greater flexibility for construction of powerhouses.

Iran Power Plant Projects Management Company, MAPNA Group, is an Iranian enterprise which operates in the area of construction and development of thermal power plants.


Tehran, Dushanbe mull over stronger rail ties

Tehran, Dushanbe mull over stronger rail ties - Mehr News Agency حمل و نقل ریلی TEHRAN, May 31 (MNA) – An official at Iran's Railway Company said Iran’s aluminum powder and crude oil will be soon exported to Tajikistan via railroad.

At meeting with Tajikistan’s Ambassador to Tehran Emomzoda Nematullo, Deputy Managing Director of Iran Railway Company Ebrahim Mohammadi called for activation of Tajikistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-Iran corridor to transit two million tons of goods per year.

He also reported on transit via rail of aluminum ingots from Tajikistan to Bandar Abbas and monthly transit of 5,000 tons of aluminum powder from Jajarm to the Central Asian country as well as exports of crude oil from Ray to Sarakhs in the near future.

Mohammadi expressed hope that an agreement will be reached over carrying aluminum ingots through Iran at the upcoming summit of representatives of Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek and Iranian railways.

“Transit of five thousand tons of aluminum powder per month as well as exports of crude oil to Tajikistan will take place in the near future,” he concluded.


Iran, Russia to export condensed gas to east Asia

Iran, Russia to export condensed gas to east Asia - Mehr News Agency gas TEHRAN, May 30 (MNA) – A Russian official said that National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and Russia's Gazprom will sign an agreement to construct a compressed gas plant in Iran products of which will be exported to Asian countries.

The official announced that the two sides are likely to sign a contract at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which kicks off in two days.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will take place from June 1–3, 2017, and brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, heads of state, political leaders, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, departmental ministers, and governors.

The event aims at macroeconomic cooperation as well as multilateral and regional partnership among the countries.

Gazprom, which was active for several years in the South Pars gas field, worked in the second and third phases of the field since 1997, however stopped work after anti-Iranian sanctions.

National Iranian Gas Company and Gazprom signed on March 28 a Memorandum of Cooperation in Moscow, in the presence of President Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Putin, based on which Gazprom and NIGC agreed to develop mutual cooperation.


Austrian trade delegations to visit Yasuj

Austrian trade delegations to visit Yasuj - Mehr News Agency ایران و اتریش TEHRAN, May 30 (MNA) – Commercial attaché at Austrian Embassy in Tehran said a number of trade delegations will visit Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province southwest of Iran to investigate potentials for economic cooperation.

Johanna Breinesberger, Commercial attaché at Austrian Embassy, made the remarks in a meeting with Yasuj president of chamber of commerce Jabbar Kianipour on Tuesday in Tehran, aimed at expanding economic cooperation between the two sides.

During the meeting, Breinesberger noted that B2B meetings between the two sides’ businesspeople will lead to good results for joint cooperation, adding “at the embassy we are eager to discover all existing potentials and capacities in trade and investment in various Iranian provinces; for this end, we have established good connections with a number of provinces across the country.”

He went on to add, “in the past few months, we made trips to six provinces and took note of their capacities. Our meeting today will be a good first step toward establishing connection with Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province.”

“We will provide Austrian companies and trade delegations interested in investment in Iran with a list of information on various companies, factories and production units in Yasuj, as well as the province’s important projects,” he said.

He went on to express hope that good trade ties will be established between Austrian businesspeople and investors, and the meeting will lead to positive results in the near future. 


PCC head dismisses claim on frozen Iranian assets in China

PCC head dismisses claim on frozen Iranian assets in China - Mehr News Agency Iran-China TEHRAN, May 30 (MNA) – Iran’s Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC) Managing Director dismissed claims on Iranian assets for petrochemical products exports being frozen in China, saying there are only some difficulties in payment.

Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC) Managing Director Mehdi Sharifi Niknafas told reporters that Iranian assets have not been frozen in China, but there are some difficulties in the paying process; “the main cause for the current difficulties is that anti-money laundering laws have come into effect in China since the beginning of May, under which some strict restrictions have been placed on exports of petrochemical products and transfer of money,” he said.

He went on to add, “another issue is that Chinese banks have not yet removed Iranian banks and companies from the high risk list for cooperation.”

“To settle these issues, Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia has held some negotiations with Chinese officials,” he said.

According to Sharifi, about 40 per cent of Iran’s petrochemical products and 60-70 per cent of the country’s polymer materials are exported to China, therefore dismissing the Chinese market, despite the current difficulties, is not an option. 


Iran, Pakistan coop. increased after sanctions lift

TEHRAN, May 30 (MNA) – Pakistani Ambassador to Iran Asif Ali Khan Durrani expressed hope over the increase in cooperation after the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

Durrani underlined that the volume of trade between Iran and Pakistan has increased up to 35%  in the last one year. 

Following is the full text of the interview:

Following Mirjaveh incident and martyrdom of Iranian border guards at the hands of terrorists on Iran-Pakistan border, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, during a telephone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, discussed Iran’s preparedness to form a special security committee and a border committee of the two countries during the meeting of experts. Is the Pakistani side also prepared for the establishment of such a committee?

I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to our Iranian brethren on this tragic incident. Pursuant to this incident, the two sides agreed to form such a committee. It may be noted that a special security committee already exists between our two countries. Since this incident is being jointly investigated by Pakistan and Iran, it would not be appropriate to raise or discuss this issue in the media before the investigation concludes.

Following this tragic incident, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Pakistan and held meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, as well as the Speaker of National Assembly, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, National Security Advisor Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua and the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Islamabad announced in clear terms that “we will never allow our soil to be used against neighboring countries and full investigation would be conducted about the incident and if anyone from the Pakistani side was found involved, the Government of Pakistan would take legal action”. There is absolutely no doubt that Pakistan greatly values its close relations with Iran and that the two countries have always stood with each other.

Advisor to the Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz, during an interview with Dunya Network said, “if Tehran gives us information about terrorists who acted against Iranian border guards, Pakistan will take action”. Does it indicate that Islamabad lacks intelligence about these terrorist groups?

Since this incident happened on the Iranian soil, it is only natural that Iran should share all information with Pakistan. We can move forward in the case only when all the evidence has been gathered. It is noteworthy that we have conducted full investigations on all previous incidents that took place on the Iran-Pakistan border and took the culprits to task.

The point is that terrorists entered from the Pakistani soil and again escaped inside Pakistan.

The side of the Mirjaveh incident was inside the Iranian territory. We are still awaiting complete information from the time of occurrence of this incident to the escape of these terrorists from the Iranian territory. It is advisable to wait for the completion of the investigations so that all facts come true.

Which groups and countries support the terrorist groups acting against Iran’s interests and are present on the Pakistani soil. How much control does Pakistan's intelligence have over these groups?

As a representative of the Pakistan government, I can say that Government of Pakistan would never allow anyone to carry out such activities using its soil.

Does Islamabad recognize Jaish ul Adl as a terrorist group?

Yes, undoubtedly.

What is your opinion on acceptance of Saudi Military Alliance command by General Raheel Sharif, former Commander of Pakistan Army? What is Islamabad’s goal in joining the alliance at this level?

It is an Islamic Alliance and its objectives are very clear i.e. fight against extremism and terrorism.

What kind of Islamic Alliance is it, which does not include Iran, Iraq and Syria?

Pakistan has joined this Islamic Alliance in good faith, to work for the unity of all Islamic countries. Pakistan’s participation in the Alliance is not against any particular country.         

The Alliance is against Iran, however, Islamabad made efforts not to consider it as an Anti-Iran Alliance by inviting Iran to join it, Do you think such an invitation is a kind of diplomatic incident?

As I said we are for the unity of Muslim Ummah and would like to strengthen its unity. Pakistan has close relations both with Iran and Saudi Arabia and would make all efforts to bridge the gaps between our two great Muslim brothers.

Regarding Iran–Saudi Arabia tensions and in view of the good ties that Islamabad enjoys with both side, the question is can Pakistan strike balance in relation with the two sides and if not will it be compelled to opt for one of them?

Our good ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia can help bringing these two brotherly countries closer. You may recall the efforts of our Prime Minister last year to narrow down the differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

We saw that the meeting “One-Belt, One Road” was held in China. As you may know, the goal of this meeting is to revive the Silk Road, and with regard to the objection of India with this meeting and bringing up the issue of Kashmir, do you think that this Alliance will make new blocs in the region, for example creating new blocs with focus on India and America?

Pakistan has taken part in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative as we understand that, this initiative will boost economic integration in the region. Therefore, we cannot comment on what other countries decide or do as it is not our business.

India by boycotting this meeting announced that the territorial sovereignty of India is ignored since this plan will strengthen the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and will pass through Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, a region where India and Kashmir dispute rests.

We reject India’s contention on CPEC and Kashmir.

What is the position of Iran and Pakistan in revival of Silk Road?

So far, Pakistan and almost 60 other countries have participated in this project, which is a good sign as the plan of New Silk Road is in fact a coalition leading to the development and progress of people in the wider region on a massive scale.

What are the main fields of Iran and Pakistan’s cooperation at the moment?

Iran and Pakistan cooperate in a number of diverse fields. Our cooperation has increased after the lifting of sanctions on Iran after which the volume of trade has increased up to 35%  during the last one year. The trade volume is expected to rise again after signing the Banking and Payment Arrangement Agreement happened last month, between the Central Bank of Iran and State Bank of Pakistan. Due to this agreement, the commercial Banks of the two countries will be able to conduct normal business.

One of the reasons the contract for export of gas from Iran to Pakistan was not implemented due to Iran’s sanctions, but why Pakistan is not willing to implement this project after the lifting of sanctions?

All measures to complete this project are ongoing. The reason for delay is that during sanctions on Iran, no company was ready to invest in this project. Our efforts in this direction are underway because we need Iran’s gas.

Pakistan signed an agreement with Qatar to buy its condensed gas. Is Pakistan looking for a replacement for the Peace Pipeline?

We have contracts with other countries in the world because our country needs gas. Despite import of gas from Iran, our need is still not fully catered to. Therefore, we have signed TAPI (Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India) gas pipeline agreement as also with Qatar.

How much of the recent tensions and issues between Pakistan and Afghanistan on joint borders are resolved?

There is no problem on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We sincerely want peace and security in Afghanistan. We will do our utmost, in this regard, because instability and insecurity in Afghanistan has been problematic for our country as well as the whole region.

Recently there have been some issues on border and they still exist?

In this case, experts from both sides have met a few times. Hopefully, an amicable solution will be found out as has been the practice between the two countries in the past.

Is this border still closed?

Yes Chaman border is closed. Some meetings have been held between officials and experts and we hope that this issue will be resolved soon. [Closed at the time the interview was conducted, Chaman border is now open.]

Regarding the issue of Kashmir and the tensions existing between India and Pakistan, what is the position of Pakistan and India on Kashmir?

Pakistan’s position on Kashmir is very clear. According to the resolutions of UN Security Council, a plebiscite must be held in Kashmir for its accession to India or Pakistan. We support a solution pursuant to the UN Security Council resolutions through holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. India has been wavering in its commitments to the UN Security Council.

Since July last year, more than one thousand innocent children lost their eyesight and many civilians have been martyred in Indian-held Kashmir. What can be more heart rendering than that? For a country that claims to be the largest democracy in the world, such brutal human rights violations should be a source of contemplation for India and a challenge to the world community how to save the hapless Kashmiris from the scourge of state terrorism.

The Kashmir dispute has existed for over 70 years now. It is the political, moral and legal duty of India to fulfill the promises it made to the people of Kashmir and the international community for holding of a plebiscite according to the resolutions of the UN.

Can you describe the situation on Kashmir’s borderlines and LOC?

The situation on the Line of Control that separates Azad Kashmir from Indian Occupied Kashmir continues to witness flagrant border violations by India, which have resulted in deaths of scores of innocent civilians. India is responsible for stoking tensions along the Line of Control.

Is a cease-fire enforced in this region?

The cease-fire was held successfully for 10 years since 2003, but after renewed Intifada in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, India has put the pressure on the Line of Control to divert attention of the international community on its brutalities and worst kind of human rights in the Kashmir Valley.

Interview By: Banafsheh Esmaili

Hyundai to increase its activities in Iran

افتتاح خط تولید خودروهای دنا پلاس و پژو ۲۰۰۸ توسط رییس‌جمهور

Tehran (ISNA) - Hyundai Motor Group returned to Iran following the implementation the nuclear accord named (JCPOA) and now looks to develop a stronger presence in the country’s auto market.

The South Korean-based Hyundai, as a first step, intends to increase satisfaction among its Iranian customers and market its products in the country based on a more appropriate system of supply and demand, Saman Firouzi, managing director of Kerman Motor Company said.

He said that Kerman Motor Company, a producer of some models of Hyundai cars, will continue its cooperation with the Chinese automotive companies as well.

Firouzi added that the support given to the Islamic Republic by Chinese companies during the Western-imposed sanctions against Iran will not be forgotten.

End Item

TAM Iran Khodro, Siemens sign MoU


Tehran (ISNA) - TAM Iran Khodro and Germany-based Siemens companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on joint cooperation following the negotiations.

The MoU was signed on the sidelines of International Exhibition of Control, Instrumentation and Automation of Iran.

Both sides have agreed to use the capabilities of each other in the fields of marketing, participating in tenders, designing, supplying, installation and setting up the projects as a strategic partner.

The aim of signing the MoU is reaching to the markets of automotive, mining, oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

End Item


Iran Steel Output Jumps 14.3%

Tehran (ISNA) - Iranian steel mills produced 6.369 million tons of crude steel in the first four months of 2017, registering a 14.3% growth year-on-year, the latest report released by World Steel Association said.

The report shows Iran’s crude steel output in April stood at 1.735 million tons, indicating a 15% growth compared to last year’s similar month and a 6.1% rise compared to March 2017.

Iran also produced 5.61 million tons of direct-reduced iron during the four months, up 10.2%, to remain the world’s largest producer of DRI.

The April output was up 9.8% to 1.565 million tons. This was about 315,000 tons more than its closest rival India.

DRI, also called sponge iron, is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore to iron by a reducing gas made from natural gas or coal. It is most commonly made into steel using electric arc furnaces. About 70-75% of Iranian mills use electric arc furnaces.

The world’s 67 steelmaking countries continued to post growth in output for April, while producing slightly less compared to the month before. Global crude steel production stood at 142.08 million tons in April, indicating a 5% increase. It dropped by 0.96% compared to March.

Overall, global steelmakers produced 550.84 million tons of crude steel during the four months, up 5.2%.

The crude steel capacity utilization ratio of the 67 countries in April 2017 was 73.6%, which is 2.5% higher than April 2016. Compared to March 2017, it is 1.7% higher.

The ratio is calculated based on crude steel production information available at WSA and OECD capacity estimates.

WSA members represent approximately 85% of the world's steel production, including over 160 steel producers with nine of the 10 largest steel companies, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes.

Many global steel producers continued their growing trend in April. China showed no sign of slowing down and produced 72.8 million tons during the month, registering a 4.9% increase.

Japan, Germany, the United States, Brazil, France, Spain and Turkey also recorded solid upticks. Only South Korea and Italy had drops in output among major producers.

The global steel industry has been driven by continuous robust demand growth in China, the world’s biggest consumer and producer. Demand reached a record high of about 67 million tons in April, as mills fired up their furnaces to feed higher prices, according to Bloomberg.

China remained the world’s largest producer during the first four months of 2017 with 273.87 million tons, followed by Japan with 34.98 million tons, India with 33.15 million tons, the United States with 27 million tons, Russia with 23.98 million tons, South Korea with 22.75 million tons, Germany with 14.81 million tons, Turkey with 11.8 million tons, Brazil with 11.14 million tons, Italy with 8.1 million tons, Taiwan with 7.35 million tons and Ukraine with 7.16 million tons.

Iran was the world’s 14th largest steelmaker placed between Mexico (13th) with a 6.7 million ton output and France (15tH) with 5.16 million tons.

Iran’s crude steel output stood at 17.89 million tons in 2016, according to WSA data.

The country aims to become the world’s sixth largest steel producer as per the 20-Year Vision Plan (2005-25), which envisions an annual production of 55 million tons of crude steel and 20-25 million tons of exports per year by the deadline.

Minister of industries, mining and trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said Iranian steel mills have so far materialized about 60% of the capacity target.

End Item

<div>Minister: New Customers Transferring Iran's Oil to Europe</div>

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced that the country is now exporting its crude supplies to the European countries with the help of new customers.

New customers of Iran's oil, including France’s Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Lukoil are transferring oil from Iran to Europe, Zangeneh said in an interview with the London-based Argus Media.

He referred to Iran’s oil export destinations in southeastern Asia, saying that Tehran plans to diversify its oil markets and export oil to Africa and Europe, including Northern Europe. 

Zangeneh also said that Iran is planning to increase the capacity of oil production to 4.7 million bpd in the long-term, adding that Iran will be bound to OPEC decision for oil cut.

Recent reports said that South Korea considerably increased its crude oil imports from Iran in the first three months of 2017 as compared with the corresponding period of the last year.

Iran boosted its crude exports to South Korea by 104.5 percent in January, February and March, official data showed.

South Korea’s customs data also showed that the country imported 18.54 million barrels of crude from Iran.

The rise in Iran’s oil sales to South Korea came as the member-states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started to implement a plan to curb production by about 1.2 million barrels per day from the beginning of January.




Official: Any Restriction on Sales of Passenger Planes to Iran Violates N. Deal

Official: Any Restriction on Sales of Passenger Planes to Iran Violates N. Deal

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Public Relations at Iran's Civil Aviation Organization Reza Jafarzadeh warned Washington that any restriction on Tehran's purchase of passenger planes would violate the 2015 nuclear deal.

"Any restriction on the sales of airplanes to Iran violates the nuclear deal by the US," Jafarzadeh said on Wednesday.

Stressing that the European governments do not agree with imposition of restrictions on the sales of passenger planes to Iran, he said that they will not allow the US to do so because the interests of their companies will be at risk.

On Tuesday, the Iranian government warned the foreign states and companies which have signed contracts to sell passenger planes to Tehran of the country's reciprocal moves if the other parties defy their undertakings.

"If any measure is taken in violation of the contract to purchase planes, we will reciprocate," Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran.

His remarks came after US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced last week that the department is reviewing licenses for Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran, telling lawmakers he would increase sanctions pressure on Iran.

Mnuchin did not elaborate on the review of the licenses, which were issued under a 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities.

The review suggests that Trump’s support for Boeing’s defense and jetliner businesses could have political limits.

Iran has said that halting the airplane deals would breach the 2015 nuclear agreement.

For Boeing, losing the Iran Air deal could affect 777 production, since 15 of the wide-body jetliners are included in the first approved batch of Boeing aircraft due for delivery to Iran Air by 2020. Deliveries start in May next year.

Boeing said in December it would cut 777 output by 40% this year under plans that include Iran Air’s still-tentative order.

Iran's National Flag Carrier, Iran Air, has agreed to buy 200 US and European passenger aircraft worth up to $37 billion at list prices, though such deals typically include big discounts. They include 80 jets from Boeing, 100 from Airbus and 20 turboprops from Franco-Italian ATR.

All the aircraft need US licenses because of their reliance on US parts.

Meantime, Managing Director of Iran Air Farhad Parvaresh announced late in March that the giant aviation company Airbus has delivered the third passenger plane to the country.

"The third Airbus, an A330, landed at Tehran's Mehrabad airport," Parvaresh said at the time.

He noted that the A330 plane which has 32 business class and 206 economy class seats is suitable for long-distance flights.





Envoy: Iran Ups Exports to China by Nearly 31 Percent


Envoy: Iran Ups Exports to China by Nearly 31 Percent

Envoy: Iran Ups Exports to China by Nearly 31 Percent

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's exports to China increased considerably in the first four months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, Tehran's Ambassador to Beijing Ali Asqar Khaji announced on Wednesday.

"The volume of Iran's exports to China has increased considerably in terms of weight in the first four months of 2017 and amounted to 21.12mln tons, setting a record 31% boost compared with the same period last year," Khaji said on Wednesday.

Noting that China is the largest importer of Iran's non-oil products, he said the volume of the country's non-oil exports to China has reached 11.59mln tons, showing a 66% increase compared to the previous year.

Iran exports around 40 percent of its petrochemical products and 60-70 percent of the country’s polymer materials to China.

On Tuesday, Managing Director of the National Iranian Petrochemical Company Marziyeh Shahdaei categorically dismissed that her company's assets have been frozen in China.

"Iranian assets have not been frozen in China, but there are some difficulties in the payment process," Shahdaei told reporters.

She reiterated that the main cause for the current difficulties is that anti-money laundering laws have come into effect in China since the beginning of May, under which some strict restrictions have been placed on exports of petrochemical products and transfer of money.





<div>Official: Iran's Aseman Airlines Inks MoU to Buy 30 Boeing Passenger Planes</div>

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Aseman Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with giant US aviation company, Boeing, to purchase 30 passenger planes, an official announced on Wednesday.

"Aseman Airlines has recently signed an MoU with the Boeing company to buy 30 Boeing 737 planes but finalization of the contract depends on permission of OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury)," Secretary of Iranian Airlines Association Maqsoud Asa'adi Samani said.

CEO of Iran's national flag carrier, Iran Air, Farhad Parvaresh announced in April that Boeing will deliver its first passenger plane to the country early next year.

"The first Boeing 777 jumbo jet will be handed over to Iran in April 2018," Parvaresh told reporters.

In a relevant development in early April, Iran signed a new agreement with Boeing to purchase several twinjet narrow-body passenger planes.

The agreement was signed between Iran's Aseman Airlines and Boeing and involves the purchase of 30 Boeing 737 MAX planes.

The agreement came after almost a year of negotiations between Aseman Airlines and Boeing.

Boeing is to provide 50 planes of the same type to Iran Air through a similar agreement. The overall value of Iran Air’s order that also involves 30 long-range wide-body 777 aircraft is estimated to be $16.6 billion.

The planes are expected to be delivered to Aseman Airlines from 2019. The Iranian airline is expected to receive at least five of the purchased aircraft during the same year.

Boeing 737 MAX planes - that would enter service in the second half of 2017 – have a passenger capacity of 130 people and are specifically adequate for domestic and regional flights.

The planes that Aseman Airlines has purchased from Boeing would increase the company’s passenger transportation capacity to above 8,000 seats.

Iran Air said in December 2016 that it had finalized an agreement with Boeing to buy 80 new planes. The company accordingly announced that Boeing would start to deliver the planes in 2018 and the deliveries would be completed within 10 years.

Iran has already received the first three of a total of 100 Airbus planes that it has purchased from the European company through an agreement worth around $18 billion. More deliveries are expected to take place over the next months.





Oil Minister: Iran Inks Deal with Gazprom on Development of Farzad B Gas Field

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh announced that his ministry has signed a contract with Russia's energy giant Gazprom on the development of Farzad B gas field.

"In addition to Farzad B gas field, Iran has signed two other basic agreements with Gazprom on development of North Pars and Kish gas fields," Zangeneh said.

The deal with Gazprom comes as over recent months Indian companies have been in talks with Tehran since 2009 for developing the Farzad B gas field, estimated to hold 21.68 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in place, of which 12.8 tcf is recoverable.

Meanwhile, Indian media said Iran’s awarding Farzad B to Gazprom was in retaliation for New Delhi’s recent move to cut purchases of Iranian crude oil.

The volume cuts would put India's imports of Iranian crude for this fiscal year at 3,70,000 barrels per day (bpd), India’s media reported.

With 137.6 billion barrels of proven reserves, Iran has the world’s fourth largest crude deposits. In terms of gas reserves, according to the 64th edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy released in June 2015, Iran is the world’s top gas reserves holder with 33.8 trillion cubic meters.





<div>Report: Japan's Inpex Mulls Investing in Iran's Azadegan oilfield</div>

TEHRAN (FNA)- Japan’s biggest exploration and production company, Inpex, will consider bidding in the tender to develop Iran’s Azadegan oilfield, in which the Japanese corporation had been operator of the project before pulling out in 2010 over West's sanctions against imposed against Iran, media reports said.

“Inpex is in the process of gathering information and conducting updates as necessary; Inpex will consider its response once the tender is published and the terms and conditions pertaining to the tender and oil contract are clarified," Platts quoted an Inpex company spokesman as saying.

The report comes as top Iranian officials have said over past two days that Iran had launched the tender for the development of the Azadegan field in Southwestern Iran and had already invited international oil companies to take part in the tender.

Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ali Kardor said that the tender would be held in the coming days, with invitation letters to file proposals to be sent to 29 international oil companies.

In 2004, Inpex entered into an agreement with NIOC and its subsidiary Naftiran Intertrade Co. Ltd. for the integrated appraisal and development operations of the Azadegan field, with Inpex holding a 75-percent working interest. Inpex later cut its stake to 10 percent, and announced in October 2010 that it was withdrawing from the Azadegan development project.

In January, the Japan Times quoted a senior Iranian official as saying that Inpex had launched negotiations with NIOC to develop the Azadegan oilfield, and is a strong candidate for the contract.

Azadegan, which is estimated to have up to 42 billion barrels of oil in place and is considered Iran’s biggest onshore field, currently produces less than 50,000 bpd, but Iran hopes to increase production volumes to between 300,000 bpd and 320,000 bpd.





UAE Pays Over $4bln Gas Arrears to Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) paid $4 billion to Iran for pre-sanction purchases of gas condensates.

The payments were made by Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) for purchases of gas condensate carried out before sanctions were imposed against Iran in 2011, media report said.

Announcement by Iran's Supreme Audit Court which monitors the Ministry of Petroleum’s deposits into the state treasury said that the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) had received the total amount of $4,105,219,136 as part of ENOC debts over previous purchases of gas condensate, the Arabic-language Al Jazeera reported.

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum is yet to officially confirm the report.

Banking restrictions had previously prevented the companies from transferring payments to Iran.

Last year, Iran's Ministry of Petroleum confirmed that international oil companies (IOCs) had started paying the amounts owed to Iran for pre-sanction oil purchases, added Al Jazeera in its report.

Debtors include the UAE's ENOC, Anglo Dutch energy giant Shell, Greece's Hellenic Petroleum, Italy's Saras.

Over the years that Iran was under a US-led unilateral sanctions, the country was unable to receive payments for oil sales to international clients.

This eventually led to the freezing of billions of Iranian petrodollars in overseas accounts.

The removal of sanctions against Iran in early 2016 opened the way for the banks to remit the frozen amounts to Iran.

Nevertheless, hurdles still remain specifically over the transfer of the dollar to Iran in what analysts say is a result of the existing primary US sanctions that ban Iran’s access to the greenback.





Iran Builds 1st Mobile Power Plant in Middle East

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian industrial group MAPNA constructed two 25-megawatt mobile power plants for the first time in the Middle East.

The mobile power plants of Noshahr and Behshahr cities were synchronized the national grid on Wednesday.

Mapna's 25-megawatt mobile power plant can be quickly installed in a short  period of time to generate electricity.

The mobile powers plants are usually used in those regions where the electricity consumption is more than what is generated by the conventional power plants.

In relevant remarks in September 2014, an Iranian lawmaker announced that Iran Power Plant Projects Management Company (MAPNA) plans to build 8 mini combined cycle power plants across the country,

Khamkani said MAPNA Company will construct 8 mini power plants, adding Zarand mini power plant with generating capacity of 33 megawatts of electricity is expected to come online in summer next year.

MAPNA Group is an Iranian enterprise which operates in the area of construction and development of thermal power plants under EPC scheme, independent power plants (IPP), oil and gas as well as rail traction projects.

MAPNA was founded in 1993 with the aim of developing indigenous knowledge production capacity for petroleum facilities, power plants and other industrial facilities, and as a contract management company.





Iran, Tajikistan Opt for Boosting Railway Cooperation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Deputy Managing Director of Iranian Railway Company Ebrahim Mohammadi and Tajikistan's Ambassador to Iran Emomzoda Nematulla in a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday called for broadening of cooperation between the two countries' railway companies.

During the meeting in the Iranian capital today, Mohammadi and Nematulla explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating of relations in the railway field.

"Tajikistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-Iran corridor can help in transit of two million tons of goods per year," Mohammadi said during the meeting.

The deputy managing director of the Iranian Railway Company reiterated that Iran’s aluminum powder and crude oil will be soon exported to Tajikistan via railway.

Mohammadi also reported on transit via railway of aluminum ingots from Tajikistan to Bandar Abbas and monthly transit of 5,000 tons of aluminum powder from Jajarm to the Central Asian country as well as exports of crude oil from Ray to Sarakhs in the near future.

The Iranian official expressed hope that an agreement will be reached over carrying aluminum ingots through Iran at the upcoming summit of representatives of Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek and Iranian railways.

“Transit of five thousand tons of aluminum powder per month as well as exports of crude oil to Tajikistan will take place in the near future,” he concluded.

In a relevant development in late December, Senior railway officials from Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan were finalizing talks to launch a joint railway linking the four countries.

"Negotiations are being made in line with a recent visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the Central Asian countries," Iran's Railway Official Mir Hassan Moussavi said.

He underlined that Iran has plans to boost rail connections with regional countries, particularly those in Central Asia and Caucasus, to facilitate transfer of goods between Asia and Europe.

"The railway officials from the four countries have put negotiations on their agenda and their next meeting is scheduled to be held six months later," Moussavi added.

In December 2014, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that the joint railway that links Iran to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on the Eastern side of the Caspian Sea and came into operation will help the three nations to further broaden their relations in different areas.

"Expansion of relations among the three countries of Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan is the main goal and desire of the people of the three countries by inaugurating the international railway on the East of Caspian Sea," President Rouhani said in the Northern province of Golestan, addressing a joint press conference with his Turkmen and Kazakh counterparts on the sidelines of the railway inaugural ceremony.

He noted that during the trilateral meeting held in Inche-Boroun at the Iran-Turkmenistan borderline earlier today, he and his Turkmen and Kazakh counterparts decided to expand the economic relations among the three countries and use the joint railway for the same purpose.

The length of the railway is about 908 km of which 120 km is in Kazakhstan, 700 in Turkmenistan and 88 km in Iran.

The railway route connects the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) countries to the Persian Gulf and the South East Asian nations.





Russia to Help Iran Build Compressed Gas Plant

TEHRAN (FNA)- The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and Russia's Gazprom are mulling to sign an agreement to construct a compressed gas plant in Iran, media reports said.

The two sides are likely to finalize a contract at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum which will kick off later this week, Russian-language media reported.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will take place from June 1-3, 2017, and brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, heads of state, political leaders, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, departmental ministers, and governors.

The event aims at macroeconomic cooperation as well as multilateral and regional partnership among the countries.

Gazprom, which was active for several years in the South Pars gas field, worked in the second and third phases of the field since 1997, however stopped work after anti-Iran sanctions.

On March 28, National Iranian Gas Company and Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Moscow, in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, based on which Gazprom and NIGC agreed to develop mutual cooperation.





Free trade agreement discussed between Iran, Eurasian Economic Commission

TEHRAN- Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran's minister of communications and information technology who is also the chairman of Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee, and Veronika Nikishina, member of the board and also minister for trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission, discussed different aspects of a free trade agreement which is due to be signed between the two sides.

The discussions were made in St. Petersburg on Thursday on the sidelines of the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2017), held from June 1 to 3, IRNA reported.

The Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union aims to finalize a free trade deal with Iran by the end of the year, in an attempt by Russia and its fellow members to deepen ties with Tehran.

Reaching a deal on free trade would represent a notable victory for the nascent EEU — a single market of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia set up in 2015 — and mark a significant strengthening of relations between Iran and the former Soviet republics.


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