"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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25 January 2017

Italy's Saipem signs Iran deal on major oil and gas projects

Author: Reuters, Stephen Jewkes

"Italy's Saipem signs Iran deal as rights issue kicks off"

Saipem signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to cooperate on major oil and gas projects in Iran, as the Italian oil contractor's giant 3.5 billion-euro ($3.79 billion) rights issue began.

The deal with Iran comes at an opportune time for the company, which has been hit hard by a prolonged oil price slump that has prompted oil majors to cut investment and seek lower prices from suppliers.

Saipem, controlled by Eni and Italian state lender fund FSI, said the MoU had been signed with the Parsian Oil & Gas Development Co and involved the revamping and upgrading of the Pars Shiraz and Tabriz refineries.

No financial details were provided.

Earlier on Monday, a source close to the matter said Saipem would announce later in the day a deal worth between $4 billion and $5 billion to build 2,000 km (1,240 miles) of pipeline in Iran.

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6 February 2017

Boeing's $17 billion Iran jet deal still at risk as US tensions ratchet up with Tehran

Author: CNBC, Jeff Daniels

In this June 2003 file photo, a Boeing 747 Iran Air plane is seen at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran.
Boeing's agreement to sell 80 passenger jets to Iran may not be directly impacted by new U.S. sanctions on Tehran but the deal still could unravel, according to analysts.

President Donald Trump's administration on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran after a ballistic missile test by the Islamic republic. The U.S. claims the missile test was a violation of a United Nations resolution.

"The Trump administration is absolutely determined to ratchet up tensions and the Iranians will of course, being hardliners there, want to do the same," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Virginia-based industry consultancy Teal Group.

In December, Boeing announced an agreement for Iran Air, the country's flag carrier, to buy 50 of its narrow-body 737 passenger jets and 30 of the wide-body 777 aircraft. The aircraft manufacturer valued at the deal at $16.6 billon, based on list prices for the planes.

Industry observers suggest Tehran could pull out of the Boeing deal if tensions continue to worsen. Besides the new sanctions, Trump's travel ban against Iran and six other majority-Muslim countries also drew criticism from Tehran and vows of retaliation.

Besides the airplane sale, the Boeing deal involves aircraft maintenance services as well as ongoing support with spare parts on the jets.

"It's a risk, but not something that will overwhelm [Boeing]," said Moody's analyst Russell Solomon, who covers the aerospace and defense industry. "They do have a tremendous amount of operating and financial flexibility because of strength of the balance sheet, a strong liquidity profile and a very significant order book."

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6 February 2017

Iran says U.S. sanctions stop American oil firms taking part in projects

Author: Reuters, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

Iran has imposed no restrictions on U.S. oil firms willing to participate in energy projects in the country but American sanctions make such cooperation impossible, Iran's deputy oil minister said on Monday.

"Iran has not imposed any restrictions on the U.S. companies, but they cannot participate in our (oil and gas) tenders due to the U.S. laws," Amir Hossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for trade and international affairs, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

"Based on the U.S. Congress sanctions, the American oil companies cannot work in Iran," he added.

Iran said on Saturday that it will hold the country's first tender in mid-February since the lifting of international sanctions to develop oil and natural gas fields.

OPEC's No. 3 oil producer hopes to draw foreign companies to invest in Iran and boost output after years of under-investment. However, foreign firms have so far made little inroads into the country despite the lifting of sanctions.

President Donald Trump's new U.S. administration on Friday imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, which it said were just initial steps. It said Washington would no longer turn a "blind eye" to Iran's hostile actions.

Dismissing the new sanctions, Zamaninia said "such actions have had no effect, and international companies are still keen to do business with Iran."

Anglo-Dutch oil firm Royal Dutch Shell signed a provisional deal in December to develop Iranian oil and gas fields South Azadegan, Yadavaran and Kish.

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12 February 2017

Polish refiner Lotos aims for long-term oil supply deal with Iran

Author: Anna Koper


Poland's second-biggest oil refiner Lotos is interested in securing a long-term supply deal with Iran once it completes a new coking unit at its Gdansk refinery next year, its chief executive said.

State-run Lotos wants to diversify its imports of oil and gas away from Russia, its largest supplier. It signed an agreement last year with National Iranian Oil Company and the first tankers carrying 2 million barrels of Iranian oil arrived in Poland in mid-August.

It is now in talks to receive another 2 million barrels.

"We are negotiating a supply of heavy oil from Iran," CEO Marcin Jastrzebski told Reuters in an interview authorized for publication on Sunday. "We assume that shipment of two million barrels will reach the (Polish) port of Gdansk at the beginning of May."

Lotos could potentially agree a long-term contract with Iran after it finishes construction of the 2.3-billion zloty ($570 million) coking unit at its Gdansk refinery in 2018, he said.


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12 February 2017

Scania Renews Public Bus Systems in Iran

Author: Scania Website

Scania has signed an agreement in principle with the Iranian province of Isfahan and Shahr-e Atiyeh investment company on the delivery of 1,350 buses for public transport for Isfahan and four other Iranian cities. The first of these new buses will be in operation at the end of 2017.

Two Memoranda of Understanding have been signed in Teheran, in the presence of the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde, by Henrik Henriksson President and CEO of Scania, Hamid Akbari Rad Member of the Board of Scania’s Iranian partner Oghab Afshan, the Governor of Isfahan and the Managing Director of Shahr-e Atiyeh.

There is a clear need to expand and renew public bus systems in Iran. With the two memoranda of understanding, Isfahan, 450 km south of Tehran, and four other leading and far-sighted Iranian cities, will get sustainable public transport solutions. Scania and Oghab Afshan will supply Isfahan with 350 buses and in the frame agreement with Shahr-e Atiyeh, up to 1,000 buses will be financed.

Air pollution in Iranian cities has steadily increased in recent years, claiming lives and affecting quality of life, but also hampering economic activity. In cooperation with Iranian authorities, Scania has developed solutions that ensure that local emissions are kept to a minimum with the current fuel quality. The new buses to Isfahan and Mashhad are equipped with engine technology that offers the lowest emissions levels in the country.

Iran is one of Scania’s top ten bus markets globally. Privately owned Oghab Afshan has been Scania’s bus partner and distributor in Iran since 2000. The company employs close to 1,100 persons in its Scania operations, including 860 in the bus factory.

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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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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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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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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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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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