Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Iran News - Spanish firms to cooperate with Iranians in Iraq

Iran News - Spanish firms to cooperate with Iranians in Iraq: "Spanish firms to cooperate with Iranians in Iraq

Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - ©2005
LONDON, Feb 9 (IranMania) - Iranian Ambassador to Spain Morteza Alviri said on Tuesday that many of the Spanish companies are interested in cooperating with their Iranian firms in project in Iraq.

Speaking at a Press conference, he added that with the holding of Iraqi National Assembly elections and embarking on the reconstruction process many of the Spanish companies prefer to base their activities in Iran while participating in Iraqi economic development.

"Many Spanish firms have also expressed their readiness to make investments in Iran." He referred to the several agreements between the two nations on facilitating the bilateral economic and trade exchange and the successful holding of the Iran economic opportunities seminar in the Spanish city of Zaragoza last fall as important factors for rising mutual investment and trade.

Alviri further said that a dlrs four billion contract between Spain`s oil giant `Repsol` and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for producing Liquid Natural Gas from South Pars Gas Field. He also said that Tehran, Madrid political, economic and cultural relations are satisfactory.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratines will visit Tehran in the next three month. Alviri was speaking to various Spanish newspaper reporters, Spanish News Agency (EFE) and IRNA on the occasion of the Anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

On the new US threats against Iran he added that these accusation are nothing new. "We believe that with the bitter lesson that the US has learned form its adventure into Iraq, it will not make a bigger mistake in Iran." Also, non of the US allies are in agreement with Washington on its attack on Iraq and have expressed their objections to the recent tatements by the US president and Foreign Secretary on military threats against Iran, the Iranian ambassador stated.

"A democratic and popular based government in Iraq is in Iran`s national interests." Alviri underlined. "With a democratic government Iraq, Tehran and Baghdad will not harbor acrimonious relations."

Alviri acknowledged some difference of opinions between the Iran and Iraq shiites leaders on the clergy`s role in the governing systems. "But this does not mean that there is a rift between them."

On a question as to wether with a democratic Iraq will be an impetus for Iranian clergy to withdraw form politics in Iran, he said the prevailing thought on the part of Iraqi clergy is not to be involved in the ruling systems, but the Iranian clergy have different views.

"Furthermore, the constitution of the country, which has been approved by a majority of the people has accepted the role of clergy in the ruling system and government." These type of interpretations pertaining to respective societies and "I reckon that the decisions made by the Iraqi clergy will not effect their Iranian counterparts` views."

Alviri also brushed aside the likelihood of a civil war based on sectarian lines in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis after the occupation forces leave Iraq. "I believe that the majority of the insecurity and violence is because of the presence of the occupied force in Iraq," the Iranian ambassador underlined.

On the Iran-EU discussions on Iran nuclear program to get underway in Geneva on Wednesday, he added that given the prior negotiations, "we are awaiting more activity and concrete decisions on the part of Europeans in the next two months."

He also said Tehran and Madrid are exploring venues for the ideals Iran President Mohammad Khatami and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on the proposal of dialogue among civilizations and ays to progress in the ties between the Western and Islamic worlds.

The two nations have been striving to bolster their economic and olitical relations. Spanish Ambassador to Tehran Antonio Perez Fernandez Toro, in a meeting, in January with Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari called for greater cooperation between the two countries private companies.

The Ministry public relations department reported that Fernandez Toro said Iran is Spain`s second largest supplier of oil needs and called for closer cooperation in all areas.

"Also, Iran is the fourth largest market for Spanish-made goods in the region," he underlined. Shariatmadari said that the expansion of trade and investments is token of the two nations` official resolve for bolstering relations. He alluded to the state-controlled economy during the imposed eight-year war, saying that "Iran is moving towards a free market economy."

The Commerce Minister also referred to the government success in controlling inflation and reducing unemployment. The infrastructure-related reforms and steps carried out for bureaucratic changes have prepared the grounds for the future prospects.

He further alluded to the success in down-sizing government saying that the pace of privatization drive gathered pace and was five-fold in the 1381 (started March 21) compared to the year before and "it also continued last year."

He said that the measures carried out a unified currency rates is rare among the WTO member countries. Shariatmadari added that the huge investments in the petrochemicals and government decision for investing over dlrs two billion annually in the sector in the next five years is a suitable opportunity for Spanish investment.

Also, Tehran and Madrid can cooperate in engineering and technical projects, including the `Assalouyeh Special Economic Zone`, which supplies 18% of domestic gas needs as well as 9% of world-wide supplies, the commerce minister stated.

Shariatmadari said that given Spain`s expertise in fisheries, it can be another solid grounds for cooperation of between the two nations. According to statistics, Spain exported €403 mln worth of goods to Iran in the first 10 months of 2004 and imported over €942 mln worth of Iranian products in the same period.

Electronic appliances were among the major items exported by Spain to Iran while fuel and fruits were the main export items of the Iran to Spain. "


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