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MOSCOW, September 20 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian state-owned corporation Rostechnologia has reached agreement with the Iranian authorities on the implementation of a joint project – the development of the Mehdiabad lead and zinc deposit, the world’s biggest zinc deposit of those which are not developed so far. The project worth 1-1.2 billion dollars provides for the creation of a joint enterprise with Bank Saderal Iran (BSI), which is the biggest privately owned bank of Iran. The implementation of the project may be hampered by the fact that BSI falls under the international sanctions, approved by the U.N. Security Council.
The fact that Rostechnologia reached agreement with the Iranian authorities on the joint development of the Mehdiabad deposit is recorded in a protocol of the tenth meeting of the permanent Russian-Iranian commission on trade and economic cooperation, held on September 11, 2011. The document says that the project will be implemented by Rostechnologia, Kapsad International (75 per cent of its shares belong to two Turkish companies, and the remaining 25 per cent – to a Seychelles company), and Bank Saderal (Export Bank of Iran). The protocol was signed by Russian Minister of Energy Sergey Shmatko and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Political risks continue to be topical: international sanctions are in effect against BSI, Kommersant writes. In 2006 the U.S. began unilaterally to impose sanctions on a number of Iranian banks, including BSI, without waiting for a resolution of the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. put them on the ‘black list’ on suspicion that they finance Islamist groups. In the spring of 2008 the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution toughening sanctions against Iran, which was supported by Russia. The Russian President issued a decree, which recommended ‘vigilance’ with regard to two Iranian banks, including BSI.
A source, well informed about the progress at the talks, told Kommersant on Monday that Iran insisted on the participation of BSI in the Mehdiabad project. “Since Rostechnologia is interested in the implementation of the project, I think the parties will find a way out of this situation. For example, they could implement the project with the participation of some other Iranian company, which did not fall under the sanctions,” the source said.