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Austria to Ink Trade MoU with Iran despite Sanctions

Service : Economy
TEHRAN, May 4 (ICANA) – Iran and Austria are due to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further expand the two sides' cooperation in economy and investment irrespective of the sanctions and pressures imposed on Iran by the West.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 7:48:26 PM
Austria to Ink Trade MoU with Iran despite Sanctions

"The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines of Abadan (in Iran's Southwestern Khuzestan province) is completely ready to ink an MoU with Austria to develop investment and trade… and this will be materialized soon," Head of the Chamber Gholamreza Akbarizadeh said in a meeting with Austrian envoy to Tehran on Tuesday.

He downplayed the sanctions imposed by the US and certain European countries against Iran, and said the Iranian companies will make progress despite such embargoes by expanding ties and cooperation with other countries, like Austria.

"The interaction between Iran's economic and private agencies with Austria will produce very good opportunities in different economic, trade, cultural and social fields," Akbarizadeh said.

Iran is under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.

Iran says that western sanctions and pressures have only consolidated the Iranians' national resolve and encouraged them to reach self-sufficiency in many economic areas.

Following US pressures on companies to stop business with Tehran, many western companies decided to do a balancing act. They tried to maintain their presence in Iran, which is rich in oil and gas, but not getting into big deals that could endanger their interests in the US.

Yet, after giant firms in the West witnessed that their absence in big deals has provided Chinese, Indian and Russian companies with excellent opportunities to sign up to an increasing number of energy projects and earn billions of dollars, they started showing increasing interest to invest or expand work in Iran.

Some European states have also recently voiced interest in investment in Iran's energy sector after the gas deal was signed between Iran and Switzerland regardless of US sanctions.

The National Iranian Gas Export Company and Switzerland's Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg signed a 25-year deal in March 2008 for the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The biggest recent deal, worth €100m ($147m, £80m), was signed by Steiner Prematechnik Gastec, the German engineering company, this year to build equipment for three gas conversion plants in Iran.

Also, Iran announced last year that the volume of its exports to the European countries has increased by 31% in the last Iranian year (March 2010-March 2011).

"Statistical figures show that Iran's exports to Europe have grown 31% in the last year," General-Director of Iran's Customs Office Ardeshir Mohammadi said.

Mohammadi reiterated that Iran has also imported 3% more goods and products from Europe in comparison with the same period in 2009-2010.

Also, in December 2010, the New York Times reported that over the past decade, United States-based companies have done billions of dollars in trade with Iran despite sanctions and trade embargoes imposed on Tehran.

One American company, the daily said, was permitted to do work on an Iranian gas pipeline, despite sanctions aimed at Iran's gas industry in particular.

The transactions have been made possible by a 2000 law that allows exemptions from sanctions for companies selling food or medical products, the report added.

Iranian officials have always stressed that the International and unilateral sanctions against Iran have had no result but inflicting damage on the European companies.

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