Legal Newsletter



In our newsletter, you will find the latest news and comments on legal and trade-related developments in various areas of Iranian commercial and financial law and practice.


Tehran hosts its first international wire industries exhibition

Thailand economic delegation in Iran next week

TOTAL interested in investing in Iran

Iran exchanges in excess of 2,200 megawatts of electricity with neighbors

850,000 automobiles to be produced by end of this Iranian year

US exports up 2.5 times to Iran

Swiss trade with Iran hits USD 1.9b after suspension of sanctions

Delegation of French Investors Heading for Iranian Mineral Projects

Iran Approves USD 37m Application for Foreign Investme

 Russian Companies keen to Invest in Iranian Energy Sector
19 February 2014
Tehran hosts its first international wire industries exhibition—Tehran—19 Feb.—Iran’s first international wire industries exhibition (sub-structural industries of wires and cables) was inaugurated at Tehran’s permanent exhibition grounds. Officials from the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Trade, parliamentarians and the heads of related industrial organizations were in attendance.

According to a 13 February IRNA report, tens of companies, factories, and large domestic and foreign manufacturing companies put on display the latest products, equipment and services available in this industry. These included a variety of wires and cables used in electricity, telecommunication, equipment and machines for producing wires and cables, primary raw materials (aluminum, copper, steel wires), production tools, non-conductor materials, and a wide range of specialized wires for related industries.

In the more than 6,000 square meter exhibition space in addition to Iran, Belgium, China, Germany, Turkey, Taiwan, and India participated.

Introducing new innovations and potential areas of growth in the wire industry, diagnosing and posing problems, pointing out weak points, attracting support from governmental and private organizations were some of the primary aims of the event. Establishing the appropriate basis for investment, creating job opportunities and entrepreneurship and growing healthy competition among domestic manufacturers to improve the quality of products were also areas the exhibition highlighted.

Similar exhibitions are usually held in countries like Ukraine, Russia, the US, Turkey, Germany, Japan, France, and the UK but this is the first time that Iran hosted such an event—an indicator of the growth and development of this industry in Iran. Turkey, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are seen as Iran’s regions rivals in wire industry technology.

Pointing to the significance of this exhibition, Ali Shalbaf, the executive manager of the event reiterated that the industries related to wires and cables are very significant downstream for the steel, copper and aluminum industries in Iran. “The increasing growth of power, electronics, and telecommunication industries, as well as the development of related networks, has resulted in expansion of the market for such products in Iran and worldwide” he added.

18 February 2014  
Thailand economic delegation in Iran next week Feb.--The head of Iran’s Import Association said that an important economic delegation will travel to Iran from Thailand next Sunday.

As IRNA reports, Mohammad Hossein Barkhordar said in this regard, “A high economic delegation headed by the general manager of international economic development in Thailand’s Ministry of Finance will be accompanied by representatives of leading manufacturing and financial institutions from sectors in the food industry, automobiles and car spare parts, electronic and electrical devices, air conditioning, refrigerators and freezers, natural rubber, and a number of contractors from various fields. They will be in Iran from 23 February--25 February”.  

He added that the Thai government is serious about expanding relations with Iran in all economic and financial areas and the Import Association, as a focal point for official and registered importers, could be the best choice for developing common investments.

“Thailand can be an assured source for providing some major goods, as well as electronic parts and car parts for Iran. Iran in exchange is prepared to be a reliable partner for that country in the supply of chemical goods, industrial and mined products such as steel” Barkhordar stated.

He asserted that establishing direct financial exchanges with no third country involvement, was one of the requests of the Thailand Embassy’s economic attaché in a previous meeting and that this objective will be discussed seriously with the delegation.

“In the previous meeting with Thailand’s ambassador we came to an agreement that for developing financial and economic relations, the expansion of banking cooperation should be considered as a primary precondition in order to facilitate financial transactions between Iranian and Thai merchants” he added.

Barkhordar made known that economic delegations from other Southeast Asian countries are also planning to travel to Iran and said, “The interest among ASEAN countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand for upgrading the level of financial exchanges with Iran and increasing the amount of common investments has been significant since the economic facilitation resulting from the Geneva talks agreement”.

17 February 2014
TOTAL interested in investing in Iran Feb.--The CEO of the French oil giant TOTAL, has again expressed his company’s interest in Iran’s new but still to be clearly defined terms on deals involving upstream oil and gas activities should sanctions be lifted.

As Shana (Petroenergy Information Network) reports, Christophe de Margerie said that provided that the upstream Iranian contractual terms are satisfactory, TOTAL is looking to invest in Iran after the sanctions are lifted.

He reiterated that the company is committed to the international constraints now in place and noted it is unable to sign any contract with Iran while the country’s energy sector is under such restrictions. Once this regime is lifted TOTAL is prepared to discuss a wide range of plans and sign contracts.

Tehran intends to present a new draft model for oil contracts in the upstream sector at a still un-specified date near the end of March 2014. The hydrocarbons sector here is optimistic that this new manner of agreement on financial terms and conditions will be of significant interest to foreign oil and gas companies.

“We have not yet been informed of Tehran’s new model of oil contracts but Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh made clear during the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland that they are working on this model,” said De Margerie.

At Davos Zanganeh was explicit that Iran needs to define new terms and understands that the previous conditions were not satisfactory. The minister also noted that Tehran is not yet prepared to introduce the new arrangements. “These were Zanganeh’s statements not mine,” De Margerie asserted.

TOTAL had previously been a key player in Iran’s hydrocarbons industry. The company developed the offshore Persian Gulf Siri oil field through a buy-back deal with Iran in the 1990s. TOTAL also operated phases 2, 3 and 11 of the Persian Gulf South Pars gas field at Asalooyeh before sanctions forced it to pull out.

French oil and gas company executives met with their Iranian counterparts in Tehran on February 4th, 2014, during the visit of a French economic delegation to Iran.

In this meeting with Iran Oil Ministry officials the representatives from the French companies TOTAL, GDF Suez, and Technip voiced a clear willingness to resume cooperating in Iranian projects provided that the sanctions are lifted.

17 February 2014 
Iran exchanges in excess of 2,200 megawatts of electricity with neighbors Feb. 20014--The Ministry of Energy’s news agency said on February 12, Iran’s total electricity supply exchange with neighboring countries stood at 2,219 megawatts. The power swap figures were weighted in favor of Iran, with exports totaling 1,459 megawatts.    

According to the report, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Republic of Azarbaijan and Iraq are all involved in this trade. Based on Ministry of Energy data, the total amount of electricity transmitted from Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Armenia, and Turkey stood at 1,839 megawatts. Power imports from Armenia and Turkmenistan equaled 380 megawatts.

17 February 2014 
850,000 automobiles to be produced by end of this Iranian year Feb 2014-- The deputy minister of mines, industry, and trade highlighting a renewed stability in Iranian car production, noted that the number of automobiles manufactured in Iran would stand at 850,000 by the end of this Iranian calendar year (20 March, 2014).

According to an IRNA report, Deputy Minister Salehi Nia made the remarks during the inauguration ceremony marking the opening of the Parmida production facility in Semnan. The new plant is outfitted to be the primary manufacturer for door parts made of rubber in that city’s industrial zone. He also said that the new administration of President Hassan Rouhani is taking a number of steps aimed at upgrading automobile production. In the next Iranian year 1393 (21 March 2014--20 March 2015) the target figure is 1.1m domestically produced cars.

The deputy minister added, “Considering the plans for replacing old cars and entering new export markets, the capacity for production and launching new automobile manufacturing facilities must be increased.”

Salehi Nia said value added must also be increased and said this would include creating job opportunities, solving the problems of car part manufacturers and affording a fresh infusion of operating capital for these units. The official said these measures have already been incorporated in the programs of his ministry.

He added the Ministry of Mines, Industry, and Trade recognized Semnan as one of the provinces registering a significant growth in manufacturing car parts. The problems facing these units are under close review he noted and creating long-term remedies for resolving these outstanding issues is a top priority of the ministry.

04 February 2014
US exports up 2.5 times to Iran Feb. 2014—American exports to Iran have increased 2.5 times. According to the international economics reporter of the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), the US Commerce Department published a report on global business operations and noted that in November of  2013, total trade volume between Iran and U.S was USD 45.7m.

That figure relates only to US exports to Iran, as Iran had no export sales to the US, thereby creating a USD 45.7m trade deficit for Tehran with that country.  

The two countries total bilateral trade was valued at USD 295.7m over the past 11 months, with USD 293.5m exported to Iran and USD 2.2m worth of goods being sent to the US.  Iran-US trade for this period was equal to USD 291.3m.

04 February 2014
Swiss trade with Iran hits USD 1.9b after suspension of sanctions Feb. 2014-- In the first 10 months of the current Iranian year 1392 (Dec. 2013) Switzerland has become Europe’s biggest exporter of goods to Iran. Bern has also suspended its sanctions against Iran regarding precious metals and petrochemical products. 

According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA( the latest customs statistics indicate that during the 10 months of the current year, Switzerland has exported 2.9m tons of goods with a value estimated at USD 1.9 billion.

The Swiss are now the sixth biggest exporter to Iran after the UAE, China, India, South Korea and Turkey. Swiss imports have dropped however by 41.56 and 28.94 respectively in weight and value.

The suspension of Swiss sanctions against Iran is expected to result in a growth in bilateral trade. Following the interim six-month nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 countries, Switzerland announced it will suspend sanctions against Iran with regard to trade in precious metals and petrochemical products.

According to customs statistics corn grain for fodder, soya meal, hard wheat, machinery and equipment for paper and cardboard production, raw sugar, pharmaceutical supplements, raw soya oil, beans and soya beans, catheters and canuula tubes, blood derivatives, heart defibrillator implants, agricultural vegetable seeds, sunflower seed oil, machine components and metal furniture have been the leading Swiss imports in the past 10 months.
05 January 2014 
Delegation of French Investors Heading for Iranian Mineral Projects 5 January 2014- Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Commerce, Mehdi Karbasian, disclosed that a delegation of French investors is scheduled to come to Iran in the current month. The purpose of the visit is to familiarize potential financiers with a substantial range of mineral and steel projects open to their participation.   

Karbasian told the Farsi-language news agency Mehr that the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Commerce will be coordinating the event to encourage outside investment in mineral and steel ventures.

The French mission is due to hold negotiations with Karbasian, who in addition to being deputy minister is also head of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).    IMIDRO is a major state-owned holding company with interests in the steel, aluminum, copper, cement and mining sectors. 

05 January 2014
Iran Approves USD 37m Application for Foreign Investment 5 January 2014- Behrouz Alishiri, the head of the Organization For Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran has revealed that the Foreign Investment Board approved nine foreign investment projects valued at USD 37m USD, the Farsi-language Mehr news agency reported today.

The projects include joint ventures in the areas of fabricating steel sections and rebar assembly,  production of pre-fabricated structures, installation of tanks for oil and chemical materials, piping systems and transshipment operations, manufacturing of plastic parts for home appliances, production  of bottles from polypropylene,  construction and car paints production, greenhouse cultivation, foodstuff,  iron and steel recycling. The Board also approved increased investment, profit repatriation and modification of existing foreign investment governmental decrees with respect to some applicants already active in Iran.

04 January 2014
Russian Companies keen to Invest in Iranian Energy Sector 4 January 2014- Russian Ambassador to Tehran, Levan Dzhagaryan, has said that if Iran offers attractive contracts, Russian companies would be eager to invest in the oil and gas sector, reported the Farsi-language Fars News Agency.

He said, “If the terms of participation in exploitation projects of oil of gas are attractive for Russian companies, in addition to companies which have been traditionally active in Iran, other Russian companies will come as well.”

Last August, Iran’s oil minister, Bizhan Namdar Zangeneh, stated that in order to make the oil contracts more appealing, buy-back contracts would be revised accordingly.

The Russian ambassador said in November that Russian companies were keen to invest in the oil and gas sector of Iran, as soon as the current sanctions are lifted.

Earlier, Lukoil, Russia’s largest oil company, made clear that in the event of removal of the restrictions created by the sanctions, the company would make a steady, calculated return to Iran’s oil and gas projects.