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Iran seeks Indian investments in fertilisers, petrochemicals

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Dion Global

08 Jan 2019

Aiming to boost ties with India, Iran welcomed investment proposals from the country in urea and petrochemicals and is willing to provide fertilisers at reasonable rates, an Iranian minister said Tuesday.

After meeting Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said India can look at investments in sectors like petrochemicals and fertilisers in the Chabahar area.

"We have offered discussions in that area (urea) and we welcome proposals from India...India has been a customer for Iranian urea fertilisers for a long time.

"Because of the illegal US sanctions, the Indian consumer, the Indian farmers are paying 38 per cent more for the fertilisers and we have possibilities of providing that to India at a reasonable rate," Zarif said.

He said trade arrangement with the European Union (EU) was moving slower and Iran was working with its traditional partners like India, China and Russia to protect its interests.

"While we continue to work with Europeans on their special purpose vehicle, we are working with our traditional partners like India, China, Russia so that we continue to work in the interest of our people.

"Europeans have been trying...but they have not been able to do it as rapidly as we had expected them to do ...We are in touch with Europe but we are not waiting for Europe...," Zarif said.

In November last year, Iran said the EU must be given more time to set up a trade mechanism meant to circumvent reimposed US sanctions on Tehran, but warned it could not "wait forever".

The EU is working on a payment system to continue trade and business ties with Iran after the US ditched a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and reintroduced a raft of sanctions on the country.

The US sanctions aim to cut off Iran's banks from international finance and significantly reduce its oil exports.

"With India we are expanding our areas of cooperation through various channels that we have, both through direct channels as well as barter, and providing for requirements of the two countries," the Iranian minister said.

Earlier, shipping and port minister Gadkari had said India plans to set up a urea plant at the strategic Chabahar port complex in Iran to cut down on its huge subsidy on urea.

"Ministries of Chemical and Fertiliser and Petroleum are working on it. Once it is set up, there will not be the need for a huge Rs 80,000-crore subsidy on urea and prices will come down by 50 per cent," Gadkari had said.