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"Iran Business Responsibility" launches website

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is working with International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on the "Iran Business Responsibility" (IBR) project.

Visit the project website launched in June 2017, and explore the articles below for insights on the new investments in Iran.

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7 March 2017

Iran Oil and Gas Conference to be held March 14-15 in Baku, Azerbaijan

Author: International Business House

The Iranian oil and gas industry today is faced by a range of critical issues, many of which you will be discussing at this Conference. The highlights include: the strategies and plans of the Iranian Government for developing the oil & gas industry in Iran; ways to attract investment into the oil & gas sector; the development of infrastructure; innovation and taxation; field development; energy supply; security and political issues, as well as the overview of the petrochemical sector of Iran.The event will provide an essential meeting place for the highest level of global oil and gas companies’ directors, leading oilfield service providers and contractors, financial institutions and trading companies, government officials and industry experts. It will be the perfect platform to develop new project solutions and to enhance energy cooperation.

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7 March 2017

Volkswagon's Seat considers selling cars in Iran

Author: Reuters, Andreas Cremer

Volkswagen's Spanish subsidiary Seat is considering selling its cars in Iran to broaden its reach beyond the crowded European market, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Seat has been invited by the Spanish government to explore opportunities in Iran but entering the market would require major investment and only work in conjunction with Seat's German parent VW, Chief Executive Luca de Meo told Reuters.

"It's not a market where we can go alone," de Meo said at the Geneva auto show. "We have to see what our sisters and brothers are doing. We are analysing the situation but nothing concrete is on the table."

French carmakers once dominated the Iranian market and both PSA and Renault are ramping up investment and production there after an international deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear activities.

Western and Japanese carmakers that had previously avoided Iran are also eyeing its potential and Iran's deputy industry minister told a conference in Tehran last month that VW may soon finalise a production deal with an Iranian company.

VW has said its main car brand was always looking for new market opportunities around the world and was monitoring developments in Iran closely while conducting talks there on different levels.

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5 March 2017

France Plans Loans for Companies Wanting to Invest in Iran

Author: Reuters, Golnar Motevalli

France is working on plans to issue direct loans to companies that want to invest in Iran, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in a press conference in Tehran.

“We are trying to help these companies,” Sapin told reporters at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Tehran at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Tayebnia. “They wil be able to apply for loans, but it’s not active yet. We are working on this.”

French companies were among the first to return to Iran after sanctions were eased last year under Tehran’s nuclear deal with six world powers, but officials have said financing issues have hobbled some big infrastructure projects. France’s largest banks have been reluctant to do business with the oil-rich country because of remaining U.S. sanctions, and Iran lacks access to major international lenders.

Sapin said he was “confident” that banking relations between France and Iran would be normalized in due time and said he was seeking clarification from the U.S. government on the extent to which its sanctions will impact French banks working with Iran.

Iran’s largest state-run and partly state-run banks, Bank Melli and Bank Tejarat, have started brokerage services in France and were working with some French banks, Tayebnia said, declining to name them.

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2 March 2017

Siemens signs energy deals with Iranian power and infrastructure group Mapna

Author: Reuters, Georgina Prodhan

"Siemens signs energy deals with Iran's Mapna Group"

German industrial group Siemens (SIEGn.DE) signed an energy agreement with Iranian power and infrastructure group Mapna, it said on Wednesday, extending its early re-entry into the country after the lifting of sanctions.

Siemens was the first major German company to agree a deal with Iran this year, signing a memorandum of understanding to work on Iran's rail infrastructure worth up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in early January.

Mapna will acquire the technology to manufacture Siemens F-class gas turbines in Iran and the two parties will cooperate to deliver more than 20 gas turbines and associated generators over the next decade.

German industrial group Siemens (SIEGn.DE) signed an energy agreement with Iranian power and infrastructure group Mapna, it said on Wednesday, extending its early re-entry into the country after the lifting of sanctions.

Siemens was the first major German company to agree a deal with Iran this year, signing a memorandum of understanding to work on Iran's rail infrastructure worth up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in early January.

Mapna will acquire the technology to manufacture Siemens F-class gas turbines in Iran and the two parties will cooperate to deliver more than 20 gas turbines and associated generators over the next decade.



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27 February 2017

Polish-Company Ursus signs tractor deal with Iranian company

Author: Biznes Polska

"Ursus signs deal with Iranian company"

WSE-listed tractor producer Ursus signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company on cooperation in use of tractor components, joint production of engines to markets both firms operate on and broad technological dialog, the company said in a market filing. “The memorandum stipulates that both sides will cooperate on use its components to manufacture 47-150 horsepower to be sold on the markets were both sides operate,” the statement said.

The firms will also inquire into the possibility of introducing farming machinery and city buses produced by Ursus onto the Iranian market, the filing stated.

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27 February 2017

Total in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Iran's partly-built liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility

Author: Reuters, Oleg Vukmanovic and Bate Felix

"Total in talks to buy Iranian LNG project: sources"

Total (TOTF.PA) is in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Iran's partly-built liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, Iran LNG, seeking to unlock vast gas reserves.

The French oil major -- the first of its peers to strike deals in Iran after sanctions -- seeks entry into Iran LNG at a discount to the pre-sanctions price in exchange for reviving the stalled project, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. A third source confirmed Total was in the running for a stake, alongside several other oil majors, but any deal was still some way off.

Total declined to comment. Iran's National Gas Export Co. (NIGEC), a central stakeholder in the project, did not respond to requests for comment by email and phone.

"Iran is trying to revamp its oil and gas projects and the abandoned LNG plant is one of them," the third source added.

Iran shares the world's biggest gas field with Qatar, which has used the reserves to build over a dozen giant liquefaction plants to chill gas into a liquid for export on ships -- a move Iran is keen to replicate.

The Iranian part of the field, known as South Pars, contains over 14 trillion cubic metres of gas, according to the Pars Oil and Gas Company website.

Iran aims to grow gas output to 1 trillion cubic metres by 2018, up from 160.5 billion cubic metres in 2012, before the latest sanctions took effect.

But it currently has no ability to freeze its gas into LNG for tanker exports.

However, Total aims to commit $2 billion to develop the 11th phase of the South Pars field this summer - supplies from which could be used to feed Iran LNG - though that investment hinges on the renewal of U.S. sanctions waivers.

Any deal for a stake in Iran LNG would also likely face similar hurdles.

An Iranian industry source with ties to Iran LNG said Total moved several employees to the firm's offices in Tehran last year as part of the discussions.

Work on the 10.8 million-tonnes-per-annum (mtpa) plant hit a wall in 2012 when sanctions stopped Iran from bringing in specialist liquefaction technology from German contractor Linde (LING.DE).

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24 February 2017

Germany-based firm Athos Solar installs two utility-scale solar PV plants near Tehran

Author: PVTech, Tom Kenning

"Athos Solar installs two utility-scale PV plants in Iran"

Germany-based firm Athos Solar has installed two utility-scale solar PV plants near Iran’s capital Tehran.

The projects have a combined capacity of 14MW and are located over 10 hectares each in the province of Hamedan. They include 40,000 modules from China-based manufacturer Canadian Solar.

The venture required investment of nearly €20 million (US$21 million), with 100% equity coming from Athos Solar.

Christian Linder, CEO of Athos Solar, said this is the only way that projects can be financed in Iran at present, while claiming that financing via banks is not yet possible.

Linder added: “These are the first large-scale solar systems to be built in Iran after the sanctions were lifted in spring 2016. The joint project initiated two business partners from Iran and England, who also developed the project rights and sold them to the newly-founded joint holding company...

The plants were completed within nine months of first contact with the Iranian developer and Athos Solar now plans further projects in Iran and the Middle East.


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23 February 2017

ZTE Is Getting a Slightly Longer Reprieve From U.S. Sanctions

Author: Reuters

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE has been granted a slightly longer reprieve from export restrictions imposed by the U.S. government as it seeks to resolve a probe of alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. Commerce Department extended ZTE's temporary export license until March 29, the agency said in an online posting on Thursday. The license was set to expire on Monday.

The extension allows U.S. firms to continue to supply the Chinese company with software, technology, and components despite the restrictions announced in March 2016.

But the latest window is smaller than earlier 90-day reprieves granted by the Commerce Department, which keeps the pressure on and may be interpreted in two ways, according to Washington attorney Douglas Jacobson.

"It indicates the final settlement is imminent or is just a stopgap to give the new administration time to decide how they want to proceed," said Jacobson, who specializes in international trade law and represents a number of U.S. companies that supply ZTE.

ZTE said on Feb. 14 it was negotiating with the Commerce Department, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the U.S. Department of Justice to conclude an investigation into its re-exporting American-made items to Iran and other sanctioned countries in violation of U.S. law.

It said the anticipated penalties would likely have a material impact on the company's financial results. ZTE has annual sales of more than $15 billion...

The U.S. investigation followed reports by Reuters in 2012 that the company had signed contracts to ship millions of dollars' worth of hardware and software from some of America's best-known technology companies to Iran's largest telecoms carrier.

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21 February 2017

Trump-Iran Tensions Halt Indian Carrier’s Tehran Flight Plans

Author: Bloomberg, Anurag Kotoky

Air India Express, the low-cost unit of the South Asian nation’s flag carrier, has put on hold a plan to fly to Tehran amid renewed tensions between the U.S. and Iran after President Donald Trump imposed fresh sanctions on the Persian Gulf country.

Since some of Air India Ltd.’s plane purchases were funded by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, it won’t be able to fly to places where the U.S. government imposes sanctions, K. Shyamsundar, the airline’s chief executive officer, told Rishaad Salamat in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore on Tuesday. The carrier may now fly to Bahrain via Doha instead, he said.

The U.S., pursuing a harder line on Iran, slapped penalties on a raft of individuals and companies in response to the country test-firing a ballistic rocket last month. While it isn’t clear if the U.S. will tighten the measures, Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday mocked being “put on notice” in a tweet by Trump.

Shyamsundar declined to comment further on the potential impact of Trump’s policies.

Air India in 2005 ordered 68 Boeing Co. 777, 787 and 737 jets, and the Exim Bank provided it with $3.4 billion in guarantees and other support. The lender provides backing for Boeing aircraft purchases by airlines unable to tap conventional credit markets.

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15 February 2017

Swedish Investment Firm to Buy Stake in Danone's Iran Producer

Author: Bloomberg, Golnar Motevalli

Swedish investment firm Serkland Invest AB agreed to buy a stake in Iran’s Sahar Dairy Co., which makes Danone and Le Groupe Bel SA products in the country.

Serkland, which invests in consumer goods, will spend "tens of millions of euros" on the minority holding in Sahar, and may secure further investment from other European firms for the stake, founder Omid Gholamifar said in an interview in Tehran on Sunday.

"Consumer goods companies know that Iran is the very last frontier," Gholamifar said. "The investments you can make here, you can’t make anywhere else in the world."

Gholamifar was part of a Swedish delegation visiting Tehran this week to improve business relations between the two countries after sanctions were lifted. Serkland is also looking at more investments in Iran’s consumer goods market and has a "pipeline of about a dozen" deals, he said.

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