Eye on Iran: Iran Eyes Nuclear-Powered Ships after US Sanctions Move


Iran eyes nuclear-powered ships after US sanctions move | AFP

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday ordered the country's scientists to start work on nuclear-powered ships in response to the expected renewal of sanctions by the United States. In letters read out on state television, Rouhani criticised the US move as a breach of last year's nuclear accord and told Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation to start work on "planning the design and production of nuclear fuel and reactors for maritime transport." The president said he had also ordered the foreign ministry to prepare a legal complaint to the international committee that oversees the nuclear accord... Iranian lawmakers had raised the prospect of building nuclear-powered ships and submarines back in 2012 at the height of tensions with the international community over the nuclear programme.

Boeing Deal with Iran Faces Turbulence Before Delivery | The Wall Street Journal

The landmark deal by Boeing Co. to sell planes to Iran faces a rocky flight path before the company can begin delivering the aircraft in 2018, experts say. The sale, priced as of Sunday at $16.6 billion, covers 80 aircraft, and the first deliveries would begin in 2018. The contract was reached within the terms of a U.S. government license issued to Boeing in September, the company said in a statement. But the sale is subject to a number of contingencies, including regulatory approvals, potential financing difficulties and other problems. Chief among them, the experts said, is the potential for the U.S. government, after the Donald Trump administration takes office, to revoke the licenses that authorized the sale in the first place.

Gazprom Signs Oil Deal With Iran as Russians Return in Force | Bloomberg News

Russian companies including Gazprom PJSC signed a raft of initial agreements with Iran that could lead to contracts worth billions of dollars, as Energy Minister Alexander Novak outlined Russia’s ambition to become a major investor in the Persian Gulf nation. A Russian delegation to Tehran signed nine agreements on Tuesday in industries ranging from energy to railways. Gazprom reached an unspecified accord with Iran’s state natural gas company, and its subsidiary Gazprom Neft PJSC signed a deal to study the Cheshmeh-Khosh and Changuleh oil fields. State-run Gazprom is the third Russian energy company to sign a memorandum of understanding with Iran, joining Lukoil PJSC and Zarubezhneft OAO. “Our priority is to develop Iran’s big projects,” Novak said at one of several signing ceremonies during the day. “These agreements will have a significant influence on the relationship between our two countries.”


Iran looks at options to respond to renewed US sanctions law | AP

Iran’s president has ordered two of his top officials to come up with plans to respond to U.S. lawmakers passing a bill extending some economic sanctions by 10 years. President Hassan Rouhani’s letter, published Tuesday by the state-run IRNA news agency, orders his top nuclear official to come up with a plan for how to make atomic fuel for ships and his chief diplomat to look at options for demonstrating America is in violation of the nuclear accord.


Rubio, Experts Rip Obama Administration for Trivializing Iranian Influence in Syria | The Weekly Standard

The Obama administration is downplaying Iran's role in atrocities committed by the Syrian regime in order to avoid endangering last summer's landmark nuclear deal, a top lawmaker and experts tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Recent reports peg the death toll of Iranian soldiers killed in Syria at more than 1,000, while others have documented a broad range of Iranian assets in the country. The Iranians have also boasted about recruiting and supplying Shia fighters in Syria, imported from across the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia. But longstanding congressional concerns that the Obama administration is minimizing the significance of Iranian aggression deepened late last week, after State Department spokesman John Kirby described Iran's role in propping up the Assad regime as "certainly more of an advisory mission" during an interview on Friday. Iran hawks, including Florida senator Marco Rubio, ripped the administration over the comments, which some characterized as an attempt to downplay Tehran's destabilizing activities and dampen legislative efforts targeting Iran.


U.S.-Iranian man sentenced in case that revealed secret database of Americans’ calls | The Washington Post

A U.S. citizen born in Iran whose federal prosecution helped expose the secret, decades-long collection of Americans’ outbound overseas calls was sentenced Monday to one year in prison for violating a U.S. ban on exports to Iran. Shantia Hassanshahi, 61, pleaded guilty Sept. 14 in federal court in Washington to one count of unlawfully conspiring to ship $1 million worth of electro­mechanical relay devices to protect Iran’s civilian power grid.


IranAir hopes to finalize Airbus deal in two weeks | Reuters

European planemaker Airbus and IranAir will finalize a deal to buy aircraft in two weeks, the head of Iran's flag carrier said on Tuesday, adding Airbus has agreed to arrange financing for the first 17 planes. Uncertainty over financing of the deal and political opposition in the United States against Iran have slowed down Tehran's efforts to import aircraft following the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions this year. Iran signed a $16.6 billion deal for 80 Boeing passenger jets on Sunday and was said to be close to a deal with Airbus, in the biggest package of firm contracts with Western companies since Iran's 1979 revolution. IranAir Chief Executive Farhad Parvaresh said he hoped to finalize the deal with Airbus in two weeks. "There are only a few small remaining issues like financing. Airbus has agreed to provide financing for 17 planes," he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency. The first contract is expected to involve some 50-60 jets out of 118 provisionally ordered during a visit to France by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in January... Dubai's DAE Capital has been closely involved in the talks in coordination with Airbus, according to industry sources, but the leasing company has declined to comment.

OMV eyeing Iran’s Cheshmeh Khosh project | Press TV (Iran)

Austria’s OMV is reportedly negotiating with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) over the development of Iran’s Cheshmeh Khosh oil field. Fars news agency reported that a delegation from OMV had met Amir-Hossein Zamaniniya, Iran’s deputy petroleum minister for international affairs, as well as Salbali Karimi, the managing director of the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFCO.), to discuss the project. Fars added that talks had already involved the technical points. The field is located in Iran’s western province of Ilam. It is expected to have a production of 18,000 barrels per day of oil and 115 million cubic feet of natural gas once fully developed.

Thailand’s PTTEP to study Iran’s Changuleh | Press TV (Iran)

Iran has signed a basic agreement with Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) to study its Changuleh oil field which appears to be one of the country’s emerging top oil project prizes. Based on the agreement that the PTTEP signed with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), it would have to study Changuleh – as well as Balal and Dalamperi oil fields - within six months. The Ministry would then evaluate the Thai company’s findings and decide on whether to award the project’s development to the company. Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, the NIOC deputy for engineering and development affairs, told reporters after signing the agreement with the PTTEP that several other international companies had also won agreements to study the three fields.

Tehran, Beijing begin $3bn oil coop. | Mehr News Agency (Iran)

Deputy oil minister said Iran and China will jointly launch a three-billion-dollar oil project today to develop and optimize Abadan Refinery. Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) Abbas Kazemi, while expounding on the first major agreement between Iran and China in the post-JCPOA era, said “following months of negotiations between NIORDC and Sinopec Company, implementation of the first phase of development, optimization and improvement of production processes got on way in Abadan Refinery as the largest Iranian oil refinery complex.” The official noted that the first phase of the refinery project requires 1.3 million dollars of monetary and financial resources asserting “the second developmental phase will be also carried out in partnership with China’s Sinopec.”

Japan’s ITOCHU signs €320m petchem deal in Iran | Tehran Times

Japan’s general trading firm ITOCHU has signed a contract, worth €320 million, for financing petrochemical projects in Iran. The deal was signed with Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) in Tehran on Saturday, Shana reported. Back in September, Japan’s integrated trading and investment business conglomerate, Marubeni, signed a deal with the same value with PGPIC on financing petrochemical projects in Iran. PGPIC has announced that it plans to attract €1.5 billion in foreign investment within the framework of short-term (usance) and medium-term contracts by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 2017).

MTN Said to Extract Several Hundred Million Euros From Iran | Bloomberg News

MTN Group Ltd., the South African wireless carrier that’s been trying to repatriate the equivalent of $1 billion from Iran, has managed to extract several hundred million dollars from the country with the help of European banks, according to people familiar with the matter. With a number of money transfers completed, MTN expects to bring the entire sum home by the end of the first quarter, said the people, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public. The transactions have been done in euros, one of the people said. The stranded cash includes a $430 million loan repayment from the 49 percent owned venture MTN IranCell Telecommunication Co. Services, as well as dividends accumulated in Iran over five years.

French Aviation Firms Gauge Iran Opportunities | Financial Tribune (Iran)

Representatives of French firms were in Tehran for a three-day visit ending Wednesday to offer solutions in the fields of aerospace maintenance and airport infrastructure, and explore business opportunities in talks with major Iranian airlines, suppliers and MRO companies. The mission included representatives of firms active in maintenance, repair and operations, manufacture of parts and equipment, airport security, aeronautics and ground support equipment, namely Aerotech Pro, Dedienne Aerospace, Laselec, LOGYX, PGA Electronic, Reel, Techman Head and Toulouse Air Spares. The mission visited officials of Iran Air, Aseman Airlines, Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, Iranian Aviation and Space Association, and Payam Cargo Airport and Special Economic Zone. In a telephone interview with the Financial Tribune, Eric Le Devehat, sales manager at Techman-Head, said the aim of the visit was to “renew the relationship the company had with Iranian airlines before the sanctions”.

German Firm to Help Build Wind Farm in Khuzestan | Financial Tribune (Iran)

Iran on Thursday broke ground for a wind farm in the south which will be built in cooperation with the German company eab New Energy GmbH. The first phase of the project, with electricity production capacity of 50 megawatts, is planned to be completed in Arvand Free Zone in two years, Mehr News Agency reported. The Germans will reportedly fund the project's first phase which is said to cost $80 million... The wind farm is part of a $350-million agreement with eab New Energy to produce up to 200 MW of electricity harnessing wind energy in the region's expansive open lands.

Indonesian President to discuss oil, gas issues during Iran visit | IRNA (Iran)

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo will discuss issues pertaining to oil and gas cooperation with Iranian officials during his meetings in Tehran this week. According to the visit schedule announced by the Indonesian government, the president will review ways of increasing cooperation with Iran in oil and gas industry sectors. President Widodo will arrive in Tehran on Wednesday. He is going to meet with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Indonesia's Pertamina may sign deal with Iran for 2017 LPG imports | Reuters

State energy company Pertamina [PERTM.UL] may sign a deal to import Iranian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in 2017 when Indonesia's president visits the country this week, company officials said on Tuesday. The LPG imports may total up to 528,000 tonnes during next year, the officials said. "It is highly likely we will import again from the National Iranian Oil Company," Pertamina spokeswoman Wianda Pusponegoro told reporters, adding that Pertamina planned to import up to 12 cargoes, each of which contains 44,000 tonnes of gas, in 2017. A deal could be signed this week during Indonesian President Joko Widodo's trip to Iran, she said. The planned purchases are part of 600,000 tonnes of LPG that Pertamina tentatively agreed to purchase in May from state-owned National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) this year and in 2017. Pertamina is also considering buying stakes in two oil and gas blocks in Iran and had met and discussed the matter with Iran's oil minister during the recent Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna, Pusponegoro said.

BCP-Sina Bank Tie-Up | Financial Tribune (Iran)

Iranian private lender, Bank Sina, has opened an account in Switzerland’s BCP, which allows Sina to transfer euro and Swiss franc. According to a press release released on Sina’s website on Saturday, the bank is also ready to issue letters of credit and receive finance from the Swiss lender.

Banking Giant ICBC Seeking Iran Access | Financial Tribune (Iran)

Officials from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank by total assets and market capitalization, has held talks with the Central Bank of Iran in recent weeks to discuss the procedure of starting operations in Iran, a CBI official said on Friday. “ICBC is earnestly pursuing plans to enter Iran…We are waiting for the Chinese bank to submit the documents…even the location for the bank's presence has been decided ,” Hussein Yaqoubi, CBI deputy for international affairs was quoted as saying by  IBENA, a news website close to the bank. “The Chinese bank’s presence in Iran will be a major step in reviving [Iran's] banking creditably at the international level,” he said.

Official: German insurance company interested in Iranian insurance industry | IRNA (Iran)

A senior official from Germany’s Ergo International Insurance Company voiced the interest of his company in entering the Iranian insurance industry. Alexander Ankel made the remarks on the sidelines at the 23rd National and 9th International Conference on Insurance and Development which started work here on Saturday. He told IRNA that Iran is a newly-emerging market in the insurance industry.

Servcorp Opens 1st Tehran Branch | Financial Tribune (Iran)

Servcorp, an Australia-based multinational organization that sells serviced office space, virtual office products and IT services, officially inaugurated its first branch in the Iranian capital city of Tehran on Dec. 3. The company is planning to open 10 branches in Iran, as business relations between Iran and Australia are expected to strengthen, Trend News Agency reported. Australian Ambassador in Tehran Jan Biggs attended the ceremony that gathered some international businessmen and clients.


Iran Stages Massive War Drills In Show of ‘Supremacy’ | Washington Free Beacon

Iran has been conducting a series of massive war-drills meant to demonstrate the Islamic Republic’s “supremacy” and show Western forces that the country is prepared to attack forces stationed in the Persian Gulf region, according to Iranian military leaders and reports in the country’s state-run media. The war drills, which began on Sunday in southeastern Iran and continued into Monday, include ground and air forces as well as unmanned drones. The war games coincided with the public release by Iran of a new unmanned drone, the latest in a series of such aircraft publicly flown by Tehran in recent months.


Tehran is the real victor in the battle for Aleppo | David Gardner in the Financial Times

The fall of rebel Aleppo, splashed with so much blood and horror, is imminent. Modern high explosives rained from the air and combined with a medieval siege on the ground to demolish the last vestiges of resistance. But Aleppo is more than an event. It is part of a violent and chaotic process that external powers in Syria and Iraq — Russia, Iran, Turkey and the US — show little sign of being able to shape into any sort of stability. It is, above all, and in terms of the region’s future, a victory for Iran... Aleppo, marking the defeat of the urban rebellion in Syria and defensible perimeters of a shrunken Assad state, is another Iranian victory. It was achieved, at the cost of heavy casualties, by the IRGC with allied militias such as Lebanon’s Hizbollah. It establishes contiguous Iranian client territory: from the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad, up to the Iran-backed Shia paramilitary coalition operating west of the US-backed offensive on Mosul, across to the Syrian coast and down to Beirut, where Hizbollah has managed to install a Christian ally as president.

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 18:55

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