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Iran monthly update | November 2017

This update aims to provide a summary of latest news of Iranian market during the past month. Corporations who are going to enter into Iranian market will benefit from this update.


President Trump's get-tough approach to Iran could kill a huge energy investment signed just four months ago

Under the deal, Total (TOT) and China's CNPC agreed to invest billions of dollars in Iran to develop the giant South Pars gas field in partnership with Iran's Petropars.

It was the first investment of its kind since sanctions on Iran were relaxed in 2016 after Tehran promised to roll back its nuclear program. Trump has threatened to quit the nuclear deal if the U.S. Congress and America's allies fail to strengthen it.

Total is expanding in the U.S. "If there is a sanctions regime [on Iran], we have to look at it carefully," said Pouyanné. "We work in the U.S., we have assets in the U.S., we just acquired more assets in the U.S."

Total last week increased its U.S. presence with the purchase of a portfolio of liquified natural gas assets from Engie (ENGIY), including the company's stake in the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana, one of the first new gas export terminals in North America. (reference: CNN Money)


The Central Bank of Iran is opening up about its stance on cryptocurrency

Speaking at a press conference this week, deputy director of new technologies, Naser Hakimi, said that the government-owned central bank is studying bitcoin and that it plans a comprehensive review of its policies in this area. The remarks came amid a wider set of comments on how the central bank will pursue financial technology policy broadly.

Still, Hakimi's statements on cryptocurrency focused mostly on the "uncertainty" and "risk" brought about by speculation in the market, as he suggested investors who seek exposure may be putting their capital at risk. (reference: CoinDesk)


UK hopes to end long legal dispute with Iran over 1976 arms deal

The UK hopes to finally end a near four-decade legal dispute with the Iranian government over hundreds of Chieftain tanks Tehran bought from the UK in 1976, but never received.

The British government admits it owes Iran up to £300m, but the countries have wrangled over the precise sum and whether any payment could be made while Tehran was still under EU economic sanctions for its nuclear programme.

Downing Street insists there is no link between the dispute and efforts by the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, to release the Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during an expected visit to the country soon. (reference: Guardian)


Iran’s Growing Coffee Business

With a café on nearly every corner in many cities around the globe, it comes as no surprise that coffee is one of the top beverages worldwide.

Different types of coffee are served in hundreds of cafes in Tehran as well as other major Iranian cities.

“There are a total of 1,500 licensed juice, ice cream and coffee shops in Tehran, 250 of which are coffee shops,” Eskandar Azmoodeh, the head of Juice, Ice Cream and Coffee Shop Union of Tehran, told Financial Tribune in an interview. Some 300-400 such outlets are unlicensed in the capital city, he added. The Juice, Ice Cream and Coffee Shop Union of Tehran was established in 1953 and as its name suggests, it is tasked with issuing business licenses and overseeing juice, ice cream and coffee shops across Tehran.


Azerbaijan to Build INSTC Railroad in H1 2018

The construction of the Rasht-Astara railroad within the framework of the International North–South Transport Corridor project will start in the first half of 2018, the head of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, told reporters in Baku on Wednesday. Javid Gurbanov added that Azerbaijan has already allocated a loan worth $500 million to Iran and the loan agreement was initialed by both countries. “It (the agreement) has been sent to the relevant ministries and structures of both countries,” Gurbanov was quoted as saying by Trend News Agency.  “The opening of the 164-kilometer section is planned for 2020 and at that time, we will be able to go from Baku to Nakhichevan by train.” Gurbanov conditionally divided the International North–South Transport Corridor project into two phases. “The construction of the Astara-Rasht branch is the second phase of the project,” he said. “The (Azerbaijan’s)Astara-(Iran’s)Astara railroad, including a 1.4-kilometer line, a terminal for transshipment of dry cargo and a passenger station on the Iranian side within the first phase will be fully ready at the end of December 2017.” INSTC is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia and serve as a link connecting the railroads of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. At the initial stage, it is planned to transport 6 million tons of cargo per year through the corridor and 15-20 million tons of cargo in the future. (reference: Financial Tribune)


Iran Exports to Europe Rise 107%

The value of Iran’s exports to the European Union from January to September 2017 reached €7.2 billion, showing a 107% increase compared with the same period of last year. According to official figures released by the EU Commission, hot-rolled non-alloy iron, steel, non-alloy iron and steel in forms other than ingots top the list of Iran’s exports to the EU.  Other popular products include condensate, light oil and methanol. Spain, France, Greece and Italy are traditionally key consumers of Iranian goods in Europe, Tasnim News Agency reported. Major items on the list of EU exports to Iran include machinery, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, transportation equipment and plastics. Germany is Iran’s biggest trade partner in Europe.


Iran to Host ICA Summit in 2018

Iran will host the 13th Regional Summit of the International Cooperative Alliance in November 2018.

The ICA summit will be attended by representatives of Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported.

Holding the summit in Tehran can be an opportunity to introduce Iran’s capacities in the fields of tourism, industry, energy and culture.

ICA is a non-governmental cooperative federation or, more precisely, a cooperative union representing cooperatives and the cooperative movement worldwide. It was founded in 1895 to unite, represent and serve cooperatives worldwide.

The alliance maintains the internationally recognized definition of a cooperative in the Statement on the Cooperative Identity.

ICA represents 284 cooperative federations and organizations in 95 countries. (reference: Financial Tribune)


Iran Customs H1 Revenues Rise 37%

The revenues of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22) rose 37% to reach 160 trillion rials ($4 billion). Iranian customs authorities have attributed the rise in revenues mainly to the implementation of the so-called “single-window system” during the government of President Hassan Rouhani, IRNA reported. The single-window system enables cross-border traders to submit regulatory documents such as customs declarations, applications for import/export permits, trading invoices and investment permits to a single entity and/or single location. This allows for more control and supervision, reduces red tape and boosts IRICA’s efficiency and revenues. According to IRICA’s chief, Foroud Asgari, last fiscal year’s (March 2016-17) customs revenues saw a 61% rise. In a meeting with Iran’s Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian earlier this month, visiting Secretary-General of World Customs Organization Kunio Mikuriya hailed IRICA’s achievements in employing information technology, promoting electronic customs and implementing the single-window system. (reference: Financial Tribune)


Iran Transport MoU With South Korea

Iran and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve cooperation among the government, private sector and investors of the two countries in the fields of transportation, housing and urban development. The news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development also reported on Wednesday that the MoU calls for boosting ties in development of port, rail, aviation and housing infrastructures, smart cities and smart transportation systems, among other things. It also underscores technology transfer from South Korea to Iran in the form of educational courses and special seminars, government support for Korean companies financing Iranian projects and encouragement of Korean investors to participate in Iranian projects through public-private partnership deals. (reference: Financial Tribune)