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September 8, 2015 11:22 pm

Iranian Energy Industries Reach Out to Europe, Latin America Ahead of Nuclear Deal’s Adoption

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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An Iranian oil rig. Photo: Press TV.

An Iranian oil rig. Photo: Press TV.

While crippling international sanctions against Iran remain mostly in place, it appears the country’s powerful energy market has already begun to spread its influence worldwide.

Iran’s English-language state news agency Mehr released a flurry of articles on Tuesday highlighting the country’s recent major forays into the world’s energy markets, despite having been shut out for years because of international sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

According to the news agency, which is run under the auspices of Iran’s Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, Mexican Labor Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida recently visited Tehran for talks with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh aimed at increasing cooperation in related industries, which the report said were suspended for “decades.”

The two energy-rich countries, Iran a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Mexico is not, discussed increasing cooperation in oil industries once sanctions against Iran are removed. Mexico opened its massive energy reserves to foreign development just last year, after 75 years of exclusive control by the Latin American country’s oil monopoly, PEMEX. U.S. firms have also scrambled to tap Mexico’s newly open market.

Also this week, Austrian President Heinz Fischer led an Austrian delegation to Iran, the first visit by a Western head of state in a decade.

During those few days, the heads of influential energy engineering universities in Iran and Austria signed a memorandum of understanding to increase joint research in science and engineering, and several lucrative deals were inked. According to Mehr, Abdolnabi Hashemi, the head of Iran’s Petroleum University of Technology and Gerhard Thonhauser, the head of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Austria’s Univeristy of Leoben signed the memorandum, while Austria’s Chamber of Commerce said Iranian and Austrian firms from various industries signed $89 million in contracts at a Tehran business forum.

According to UPI, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister in charge of international affairs Amir-Hossein Zamani-Nia said the country expected Austrian oil and natural gas company OMV was ready to help Iran double its output.

Business delegations have also traveled to Iran from France and Germany since the nuclear deal was announced on July 14 in Vienna, and Switzerland has already moved to lift some sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The director of Iran Power Plant Projects Management Company, Vahid Moayer, on Tuesday noted Iraq, Oman, Turkmenistan and South American countries as areas for expansion.

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