Referring to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of political and diplomatic relations between Iran and Switzerland , the Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis came to Iran.
The swiss FM first destination was Isfahan; land of culture & UNESCO world heritage sites. The reason why he travel to Iran is to mark the centenary of swiss-Iran diplomatic relations so he stayed one day and two nights in Isfahan, visited seven monuments (including mosques,cathedral,royal palaces,Persian garden,carvansaray changed to 5-star hotel,traditional house changed to a hotel and UNESCO world heritage square.
Ignazio Cassis tweet:“Visit to the city of Isfahan, a pearl in the Middle East. Knowing the culture and people of a country…”
We seek beauty in many forms: through art and architecture; from
water views and mountain highs; in its people and its history. This list
circles the globe, finding the most beautiful cities in the world from
Italy to Iran. Vote for your favorite cities in the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards survey.
Once one of the largest cities in the world, Isfahan had such serious
cosmopolitan clout in the 16th century that it inspired the phrase
Isfahan nesf-e jahan, or “Isfahan is half the world.” Today, it’s is one
of the country’s largest metropolises, and has wide, tree-lined
boulevards, significant Islamic architecture, and hidden Persian
gardens, all perfect for exploring.
cosmopolitan clout in the 16th century that it inspired the phrase Isfahan nesf-e jahan, or “Isfahan is half the world.” Today, it’s is one of the country’s largest metropolises, and has wide, tree-lined boulevards, significant Islamic architecture, and hidden Persian gardens, all perfect for exploring.
President Hassan Rouhani and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis on Monday held talks in the capital city of Tehran to confer on the issues of mutual interests.
The President said that the United States, by withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and violating UN Resolution 2231 with the aim of overthrowing the Islamic Republic, has imposed cruel and unjust sanctions against the Iranian people for the past two and a half years, adding, “History has shown that the Iranian people will not give in to the bullying and coercion of a power”.
Speaking on Monday in a meeting with the Swiss Foreign Minister, Hassan Rouhani said that the relations between countries should be based on international regulations and UN Security Council resolutions, adding, “The United States has been seeking to eliminate the Islamic Republic and interfere in Iran’s internal affairsfor many years, and Mr Trump has made a miscalculation by thinking that he could overthrow the Islamic Republic within three months by putting pressure on Iran and waging an economic war”.
Emphasising that we have been -and will be- committed to international rules and multilateral agreements, Rouhani said, “Any day that the United States decides to admit to its mistakes, make up for its illegal actions and return to Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA, the path is clear for them”.
The President emphasised, “Today, it is clear to the Americans that
they have made a mistake and will not achieve their goal through
pressure and sanctions”.
The President described US sanctions and economic war against the Islamic Republic, the assassination of a high-ranking Iranian military official in another country, as well as the violation of Iranian airspace as clear examples of economic terrorism, terrorist operations and air terrorism by the country, adding, “We expect all friendly and free countries in the world not to remain silent in the face of terrorism and the illegal actions committed by the United States over the years”.
Dr Rouhani stated that we expected the European countries to take decisive and explicit action against the US economic terrorism, which has even prevented the entry of drugs into Iran during the outbreak of coronavirus, calling for a more active part on Switzerland’s financial channel and its more effective and useful role.
In another part of his speech, the President mentioned Switzerland as
an important country in Europe, and referring to the good and friendly
relations between the two countries over the past years, emphasised the
development of Tehran-Bern relations in various fields of science,
health, agriculture, environment, etc.
Dr Rouhani also referred to the outbreak of the global coronavirus in
many countries around the world, and expressed hope that the two
countries would share their experiences in the fight against COVID-19
and develop their cooperation in this regard.
Referring to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of political
and diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Swiss Foreign
Minister Ignazio Cassis described the relations between Iran and
Switzerland very good and sincere, and stressed the development and
deepening of these relations in all fields.
“All countries around the world need to know that there is a strong
legal system in the world so that they can live in security; therefore,
it is important that everyone, especially powerful countries, fully
comply with international rules and regulations,” said the Swiss foreign
We are aware of the problems caused by the US sanctions on the
Iranian people, said Foreign Minister Cassis, adding, “The Swiss
financial channel has been designed and launched to solve these problems
and we will try increase the useful role of this channel”.
The Swiss Foreign Minister said that we are still with Iran to solve
the problems and we will try to play our part, adding, “During this
visit, I had very good meetings with the officials of the Islamic
Republic, which can be the basis for developing and strengthening
relations between the two countries in different fields”.
Iran has signed initial agreements with Germany’s Hermes insurance firm and Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) to provide cover for transactions with Europe.
The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) signed the agreements in Lisbon on the sidelines of the annual meeting of Bern Union — an association of private and state export credit insurers from around the world, IRNA reported Wednesday.
Under the agreement, the Iranian and European sides will cooperate on “exchange of economic, trade and banking information, reinsurance coverage, coinsurance, and training”.
IRNA quoted EGFI Managing Director Kamal Seyyed-Ali as saying that European export credit insurers were increasingly interested in financing projects after the lifting of sanctions on Iran.
“Given our good track record in repayment of finance installments and Iran’s foreign exchange reserves and the nonexistence of outstanding debts, these institutions are interested in the Iranian financing market despite the problems created by the US Treasury,” he said.
Banks and financial institutions are holding back on moving into Iran because they are fearful of falling foul of American sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran paid off its debt of about €500 million to Hermes
Iran paid off its debt of about €500 million to Hermes, Iranian Ambassador in Berlin Ali Majedi said in June, clearing the way for the resumption of insurance services.
Hermes, which extends insurance coverage to Iranian exports, has been encouraging German banks to normalize ties with Iran.
Last month, the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CBI) said Austrian export credit agency OeKB had raised its cover for Iran transactions to one billion euros.
Raiffeisen Bank and Erste Bank from Austria along with banks from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and Belgium have set up shop in Iran, handling transactions with the energy-rich country while major banks have stayed away.
Legendary vocalist master Mohammadreza Shajarian, who was known as Iran’s king of song and once called himself the “son of Iran”, died on Thursday at 80 at Tehran’s Jam Hospital years after suffering from kidney cancer.
It was deeply shocking for his fans
and the Iranian music community when the icon of Persian traditional
music appeared in a video in the early days of Noruz, the celebration of
the Iranian New Year celebration, in March 2016, wishing a happy New
Year for Iranians and announcing that he was suffering from chronic
The two-time Grammy Award nominee called
the disease “a 15-year-old guest” that is “friendly” with him and added
that he would soon return to the stage, a dream that would never come
He soon left the country for Sacramento,
California to receive treatment for the disease and returned home in
September that year to resume his medical treatment in the country.
His fans were shocked several times over
the past few years each time they heard that their beloved, highly
popular artist was admitted to the hospital. In post-revolution Iran, no
other artist could capture the hearts and souls of his people as much
His popularity was not just limited to his
art. His strong affinity with the people over the course of his
lifetime made Shajarian their beloved artist. He was never once
apathetic about the pain and suffering they went through.
For example, shortly after the devastating
2003 earthquake in Bam, Kerman Province, which claimed tens of
thousands of lives and flattened the town, Shajarian and his group,
composed of his son Homayun, tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh and kamacheh
master Kayhan Kalhor, organized benefit concerts titled “Compassion for
Bam” to raise funds for the victims of the disaster.
The Bam Art Garden was born out of the rubble of the earthquake based on an initiative from Shajarian and his friends.
“I was like a drop that fell from the
cloud, heading to the sea,” Shajarian once said during a celebration to
mark his 73rd birthday in September 2013 organized by his friends and a
number of Iranian art elites, including vocalist Shahram Nazeri,
filmmaker Masud Kimiai and writer Javad Mojabi.
“For me, the people of Iran and the world
are the sea. And from childhood, I learned from my parents to share my
happiness with others… I follow the way that people are going and the
people are my most important asset. Today, many people live inside me
and I live for them. Because I believe that life finds its mean with
‘you,’ therefore, I have tried to do my art for humans and humanity.
“We should first abandon our evil ways and
wickedness to enable ourselves to live with others and hold meetings
with them; meetings with others have always been important for me and I
have tried to ignore my personal pride for the sake of national pride
“Life is difficult when we are under
others’ steady gaze and spotlights, but today, the present the people
give us is for having always loved them; I have tried to share my
happiness with others and have regard for their concerns.”
Born in the religious city of Mashhad,
Shajarian began his vocal career from childhood with his father who
taught him Quran recitation. His recitations of the Holy Quran were
aired by Mashhad Radio when he was only 12.
At the same time, he was also pursuing a career in vocal music.
In his early twenties, he left his
hometown to pursue his singing career in Tehran. His father wanted him
to respect his family’s reputation for their affinity with religious
figures, so his singing was aired by Tehran Radio under the alias
Tar virtuoso Ahmad Ebadi, who was one of
Shajarian’s close friends, met his father later, convincing him to allow
Shajarian to sing using his true name.
His collaborations with Golha, a
professional music program of Tehran Radio that had many top musicians,
in 1972 opened a window of opportunity for Shajarian. He started a
friendship with many elites of Persian traditional music who played a
key role in the development of his virtuosity.
As he was completing his education with
the top maestros such as Framarza Payvar, Nurali Khan Borumand and
Abdollah Davami, he also pursued his Quran recitations professionally.
In 1978, he finished first in Iran’s nationwide Quran competition. In
summer 1979, he took second place in the recitation category of a
Malaysian Quran contest.
He split from Golah, and consequently,
radio in early 1978. “At that time, the program was not in harmony with
my feelings. I felt that the radio’s policy was being made by cabarets
and cultural triviality.”
His friends in the Sheida and Aref music
ensembles also separated from the radio in protest at the killing of
demonstrators on Black Friday on 8 September 1979. They teamed up to
produce some protest songs, which were released in album series named
The epic song “Sepideh” (“Dawn”) composed
by Mohammadreza Lotfi with a poem by their close friend Hushang Ebtehaj,
who is also known by his pseudonym “Sayeh”, become a smash hit that
Shajarian performed with the Sheida ensemble at National University in
Tehran in 1980. “In Memory of Aref” and “The Soul of the Beloved” were
among the albums Sheida recorded with Shajarian.
In 1980, a recitation of an invocation,
known as “Shajarian’s Rabbana”, that he improvised for his students was
recorded at Iran’s national radio. The divine recitation, which is
composed of four verses of the Holy Quran, opens with a prelude
featuring verses of a mesmerizing Rumi poem promoting the fast during
In 2017, the Cultural Heritage, Tourism
and Handicrafts Organization registered “Rabbana” on the National
Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
In his works, he began to perform in
dastaghs and gushehs, the totality of melodies of the Persian
traditional music system, which were sinking into oblivion at that time.
This trend was highly inspiring for his pupils, helping save these
In the 1980s, he pursued a teaching career
in music courses, one of the outcomes of which was that his son,
Homayun, is now a popular vocalist of the new generation.
His collaboration with Aref, which was led
by eminent composer and santur virtuoso Parviz Meshkatian, resulted in
the creation of “Injustice”, “At Presence of the Beloved”, “The Dome of
the Sky” and several other albums, which are considered an unparalleled
treasury of Persian traditional music.
He worked with many musicians and finally
in 2008, founded his own group Shahnaz named after his master and tar
virtuoso Jalil Shahnaz. His daughter Mojgan and composer and tar
virtuoso Majid Derakhshani were among the members of the ensemble, along
with whom he embarked on a world tour in 2010, using his innovative
instruments, including the sorahi, arghanun and barbad.
Shajarian was also quite agreeable to the innovations made by his son, Homayun, in the traditions of Persian song.
“Despite objections from those who are
adherents of Persian traditional music, they [Homayun and his
colleagues] are not in the least incorrect. However, they should beware
of deviations. They should follow their own path based on the culture of
their society; they should never go beyond due bounds in modernity,
letting the next generation try their new items,” he once said in an
He was nominated for a Grammy Award in
Best World Music 2004 and 2006, and was the recipient of numerous awards
and honors, including a UNESCO Golden Picasso Medal in 1999. He was
also decorated with France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in June
Shajarian was also known for his skills in Persian calligraphy, and showcased his works in several exhibitions.
Once in an interview, he called himself
“son of Iran” and added, “My vice is among the ancient vices of Iranians
who wanted to be remembered for the type of people they were; people of
humanity, love, peace and purity.
“We have no other message for the world
than that of friendship, love, life and happiness. And if we complain it
is to rid ourselves of social problems so our people can live.”
Shajarian married Farkhondeh Golafshan in
1961, but divorced her in 2000. He is survived by his widow, Katayun
Khansari, and his sons Homayun, Farzaneh, Afsaneh and Mojgan from his
first marriage, and Rayan, another son from his second marriage.
FM Zarif offers condolences over Iranian legendary singer’s departure
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a message expressed condolences over death of Iranian legendary singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian.
“Maestro Shajarian was a great & true Ambassador of Iran, her children and—most of all—her culture,” Zarif wrote in his Twitter account on Thursday.
“I extend my deepest condolences to Iranians across the world and partcularly to his loved ones” he added.
“From God we come and to Him we return.”
Tributes pour in for world-renowned Iranian vocalist
United Nations, diplomats, Iranian and foreign ambassadors and embassies in separate messages late on Thursday offered condolences on the demise of the veteran Iranian singer Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian.
UN representative office in Iran said in a message that the demise of the great Iranian vocalist Mohammad Reza Shajarian caused deep grief and sorrow.
“We on behalf of the UN family in Iran express condolences to Shajarian’s family and all his lovers in Iran and world. May the departed soul rest in peace,” the message said.
Iran’s Embassy in Zagreb in a tweet also extended condolences to the honorable and culture-loving compatriots, as well as lovers of Iranian culture and art, the death of the great Iranian vocalist and the internationally acclaimed figure.
Meanwhile, Swiss Embassy to Iran expressed sincere condolences on the demise of Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian. “Switzerland will cherish the memories of his concerts in Lausanne and Zurich.”
The British Embassy in Tehran also extended condolences to all his fans on the departure of one of the most prominent figures in Iranian traditional music of the last century.
Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Republic also paid homage to the late vocalist on his Twitter, expressing deep regret over the loss of “a towering figure in international music”.
Celebrating Women’s History Month (March 1-31), IMDb published a video on Twitter to take a look back at “cinematic history in salute of the pioneering women directors and their groundbreaking work,” the online entertainment database tweeted along the video that featured scenes of Bani-Etemad’s 2014 drama, Tales (Ghesseh-ha).
Born in Tehran in 1954, Bani-Etemad – who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film studies from the Dramatic Arts University in Tehran – is widely considered as the most important female director in Iran, titled ‘First Lady of Iranian Cinema’.
Her movies and documentaries picture social and cultural issues and complications in modern-day Iran.
The Tales – which adopts an episodic narrative – portrays the fates of seven characters of Bani-Etemad’s previous flicks.
The film won the award for Best Screenplay (written by Bani-Etemad and Farid Mostafavi) at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.
It also brought Bani-Etemad the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award – dedicated to best film – at Kolkata International Film Festival in 2014, as well as the Special Jury Prize at Asia Pacific Screen Awards (Australia) in the same year.
Also featured in IMDb’s short video were the likes of Sofia Coppola, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Chinese-American film director Lulu Wang, Sarah Polley, and Barbra Streisand.
Banietemad, born in 1954 Tehran, began to make documentaries for the
Iranian National Television in 1979, right after graduating from the
University of Dramatic Arts, Tehran. From 1979 to 1987 she focused on
making only documentaries. In 1987, she directed her first feature film Off the Limits. In 1991, she became the first woman recipient of the Best Director award for Nargess at Fajr International Film Festival in Iran. In 1995, she won the Bronze Leopard for The Blue Veiled at the Locarno Film Festival. Under the Skin of the City, her next film, was the highest grossing film in Iran in 2000. This film along with Gilaneh(2005) and Mainline(2006), garnered major awards in more than 50 film festivals.
While Banietemad’s feature films have
been acclaimed and honored worldwide, her documentaries have also been
successful and popular internationally. Our Times …,
was the first documentary ever to be released in the movie theatres in
Iran in 2002. It was also screened in highly prestigious and prominent
festivals and TV channels such as IDFA, Sundance Film Festival and ARTE.
Banietemad started her work by making
documentaries and has never ended the strong connection she has always
had with her works. Making documentaries have been her main way of
connecting with the society and social issues. Her approach and in
depicting social issues has been so strong and effective that her works
have always resulted in causing change in the lives of her
In 2008, she received an honorary
doctorate from University of London, in 2010, she was awarded the Prix
Henri Langlois from Vincennes International Film Festival. Her latest
feature film, Tales, was awarded the Best Screenplay prize in the main competition section of 2014 Venice International Film Festival.
More recently, she has joined the Academy Oscar, Writers branch in 2017.
Honorary Doctorate, University of London (Iran), 2008
Master Class, School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS (England), 2008
Master Class, Geneva University of Art & Design (ESBA), 2008
Jury Member, Cinema Verite Int’l FF (Iran), 2007
Jury Member, Women’s Film Festival (Iran), 2006
Jury Member, Asian Cinema, Fajr Int’l FF (Iran), 2006
Jury Member, Art University Student Festival (Iran), 2005
Director, Sony Young Directors Film Festival (Iran), 2003
Jury Member, Asia Pacific Film Festival (Iran), 2003
Jury Member, Sony Young Directors Film Festival (Iran), 2002
Jury Member, Moscow Int’l FF (Russia), 2002
Jury Member, Cairo Int’l FF (Egypt), 2002
Jury Member, Fajr Int’l FF (Iran), 2001
Jury Member, Montreal Int’l FF (Canada), 2001
Jury Member, Youth Film Festival (Iran), 2001
Jury Member, Student Film Festival (Iran), 1999
Jury Member, Leipzig Int’l FF (Germany), 1999
Jury Member, Tokyo Environmental Int’l FF, (Japan), 1998
Jury Member, New Delhi Int’l FF (India), 1998
Jury Member, Student Film Festival (Iran), 1997
Jury Member, Locarno Int’l FF (Swiss), 1996
Jury Member, Turin Int’l FF (Italy), 1995
Jury Member, Center for Iranian Film Directors (Iran), 1993
Jury Member, Roshd Film Festival (Iran), 1992
Jury Member, Fajr Int’l FF (Iran), 1990
KÂRÂ FILM STUDIO
KARA Film Studio is a name under which a group of professional Iranian filmmakers express their common concerns regarding humanistic, social and cultural issues through documentary films, while maintaining their own diverse and distinct vision. In KARA Film Studio, filmmakers in small or large numbers, gather together and, starting with an outline of a documentary project, complete the work in a professional manner.
KARA Film Studio operates under a number of principles: personal financing or financing through private sector; working as teams and in a workshop from development of an idea through to its completion and distribution; giving young and talented documentary filmmakers an opportunity to work with professionals and assistance with their development, due respect for the audience by maintaining high standards in the production phase, endeavor to provide improved and increased means of screening films inside and outside Iran; … Rakhshan Banietemad and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb are the constant participants in this group.
French photographer Alain Ceccaroli and his wife, who visited Iran to hold a photography exhibition, said they were charmed by Iranian culture and hospitality.
Ceccaroli said that he plans to return to Iran in the coming months and enjoy its special attractions.
A collection of 20 black-and-white photographs featuring mountain landscapes was on view at the exhibition titled ‘Entre errance et eternite’ (‘Between Wandering and Eternity’).
The exhibition ran until November 30.
IRNA conducted an interview with Ceccaroli to get his opinion about Iran and Iranian culture.
Alain Ceccaroli was born in 1945 in Morocco. He lives in France. After holding several jobs, he decided in 1981 to become a professional author photographer. Though he was self-taught, his meeting in 1982 with Claudine and Jean-Pierre Sudre was decisive. He devotes himself to his three passions: Architecture, landscape and the Mediterranean. His photographic career took off and multiple commissions and photographic projects started coming in.
He held several exhibitions in countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, Croatia, Syria and Greece.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRNA: How did you select the photographs for the exhibition in Tehran?
ALAIN CECCAROLI: I was invited by the French Embassy in Iran to hold an exhibition. The embassy suggested some themes for the photos and since I knew that the Iranians are highly interested in nature, I chose a collection of my photographs about mountains and trees.
I am interested in the visible and invisible traces of history on the landscape. I selected a collection of 20 works from my visit to the Swiss Alps in 1985 and 1989.
I did not want to increase the number of displayed photos without paying attention to the theme of the works.
Do you have a plan to hold another exhibition in Iran?
It is not clear yet. Right now I want to travel to Iran again and enjoy its attractions and meet its people. Iranians’ hospitality was of great significance to me and I must confess that I have not seen any people in the world more hospitable than Iranians in Isfahan.
I will recommend my friends in France to make a trip to Iran. Since there are so much propaganda against Iran, I will tell my friends about my observations in Iran and the reality.
What is your opinion about the role of diplomacy of art and cultural diplomacy in getting Iran and France closer?
I believe they play a significant role. That’s why the French Embassy in Iran invites artists and cultural figures to come to Iran and hold exhibitions and fairs. In my opinion, cultural and political diplomacy are complementary.
How do you evaluate the presence of Iranian women in cultural and social fields?
They always welcomed us with their smiles. Female artists in Iranian Artists Forum were also highly active in their fields. We did not think that Iranian women are this much omnipresent in the society.
The Iranian handball player of Romania’s Dinamo Bucuresti’s Sajjad Esteki won ‘ Rookie of 2016’ title of VELUX EHF Champions League in 2016, garnering 62 percent of the votes.
The thrilling Iranian long-range shooter had earlier become the top goalscorer of the European Champions League in 2016, with 68 goals in nine matches — three more than Magnus Bramming from Denmark’s Team Tvis Holstebro club, varzesh3.com reported.
Esteki, 26, who put in brilliant performances in the European tourney, is the first Iranian and Asian handball player to earn these two European honors.
The other nominees for the title were Nedim Remili (PSG), Bramming (TTH Holstebro), Andreas Wolff (THW Kiel), Dika Mem (Barcelona) and Nebojsa Simic (IFK Kristianstad).
Iran handball stars
Many iranian handball stars play in the other countries . Allahkaram and Sajjad Estaki and Alireza Mousavi playing in Dinamo bucharest also Shaho Nosrati plays in Steaua bucharest in Romania. Mohsen Babasafri who is goal keeper and Sasan Mousakhani played in Turkey. Amin Yousefnejad joined to Metalurg Macedonian handball club. Afshin Sadeghi plays in Swiss. Daniel komayeshnejad play in Malemo club in Sweden and
Former Swiss ambassador to Iran, Livia Leu Agosti (L), has voiced her country’s willingness for boosting economic cooperation between Iranian and Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) portal reported.
Former Swiss ambassador to Iran, Livia Leu Agosti (L), has voiced her country’s willingness for boosting economic cooperation between Iranian and Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) portal reported.
She made the remarks in a meeting with the Chairman of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Gholam-Hossein Shafei in Tehran on Monday.
Agosti who is the delegate of Switzerland’s Federal Council for Trade Agreements and Head of the Bilateral Economic Relations Division at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in the country’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, noted that even during the west imposed sanctions the two countries did not cut the ties and Switzerland sent certain commodities like medicine and food products to Iran.
In the meeting, Shafei for his part stressed the need for development of economic ties and removing the banking obstacles between the two countries.
Iran-Daily: Western insurers are slowly reaching deals with Iran as they seek to reenter a multibillion-dollar market 10 months after the lifting of international sanctions in January.
Iran is now in more active talks with insurers to provide cover in a market valued at $9 billion overall last year and potentially double that in the next decade. The country trying to reap the benefits of last year’s nuclear deal with world powers, Reuters wrote on Friday.
Western companies need insurance in order to resume business with Iran. Shipping and trade credit insurance, which remove the risk of nonpayment for goods, are the first types of insurance being offered.
“There is generally a lower degree of fear and apprehension and that is because you have not had the big fines on the insurers that the banks have faced,” said leading London sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner.
“We are going to see greater and quicker movement there than on the banking side, at least in London and the UK,” said Kushner, who is also a director of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce.
As Iran has aimed to ramp up oil exports, securing marine insurance has been crucial. Top tier Western ship insurers have started offering services in recent months.
Insurances for Iranian tankers
Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia has said European insurers now have no problems insuring Iranian oil tankers.
Protection and Indemnity (P&I) clubs – marine insurers owned by shipping firms – have started to provide cover for Iran’s shipping fleet, including its oil tankers.
Jonathan Andrews, director and head of eastern underwriting with Britain’s Steamship Mutual, said it was insuring ships for Iranian tanker operator NITC and also for Iranian cargo ship operator IRISL.
“We have a long history of insuring Iranian ship owners,” Andrews told Reuters. “We are happy to be insuring our former members again.”
Norwegian ship insurer Skuld said it was in discussions with IRISL, while it was already insuring NITC ships.
Others such as the UK’s Standard Club said they were covering vessels trading to and from Iran, but did not say whether this related to Iranian shipping firms.
Ship insurers say there are still constraints on payments, given a freeze on using the US financial system.
“Problems remain however in relation to the channeling of payments through the banking systems, both in relation to collection of premium and settlement of claims,” said Andrew Bardot, executive officer with the International Group, which represents ship insurers.
This was due to the reluctance of many banks and financial institutions to process such payments, and was now the main concern for insurers and reinsurers, he said.
“Solutions are being found, but it is a difficult process and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.”
US banks are forbidden to do business with Iran under domestic sanctions still in force. European banks also face problems, since transactions with Iran in dollars cannot be processed through the US financial system.
Banks remain nervous after some heavy US penalties, including a $9 billion fine on France’s BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) in 2014, largely for violating US financial sanctions.
Despite this, European export credit agencies are guaranteeing trade finance for Western companies doing business with Iran.
Germany’s state-run export credit group Hermes has concluded trade finance deals covering goods worth several million euros.
“About a dozen transactions have been approved so far,” a Hermes spokesman said.
“The demand is there from the exporters’ side but they need a lot of information. There is a continuous and rising flow of applications (for export credit guarantees).”
Italian export credit agency SACE has also undertaken its first small transactions with Iran.
“The lingering risks should not be underestimated, however, as they might create problems … legal, documentary, operational, for companies interested in building or restoring commercial or financial relationships with local counterparties,” a SACE spokesman said.
France’s Coface has signed an agreement with Iran to guarantee trade finance on behalf of the French government.
France’s Coface has signed an agreement with Iran to guarantee trade finance on behalf of the French government. Nevertheless, major transactions were yet to be concluded due to the banking issues.
Aviation and energy are two sectors in focus, industry executives say, along with political risk cover, even if there have been few deals so far.
Christian Bieri, EMEA reinsurance head at insurance group MS Amlin, said Iran was “very much under discussion”.
“It’s very high up the agenda,” Bieri said. “It’s going to be something for 2017.”
Other large insurers and reinsurers such as Hannover Re (HNRGn.DE) are looking closely at Iran, but say concerns about payments still prevent them from doing business there.
Swiss Re (SRENH.S) chief executive Christian Mumenthaler told Reuters: “We have big business in the US and so our chief legal officer is basically regulating every micro-step we do in that direction.”
Lloyd’s of London had historically been active in Iran and chairman John Nelson said it was a “market we would like to get back into”.
An oil official has announced that Vitol S.A. of Switzerland is likely to purchase Russian crude to be swapped through Iran’s largest oil terminal in the Caspian Sea.
Despite the seven-year hiatus in oil swaps among Caspian Sea littoral states through Iran’s route, the process has not been resumed yet though negotiations are still underway with countries like Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan Republic.
Meanwhile on Thursday, a Swiss delegation comprising representatives of Vitol S.A. visited facilities and infrastructures of Neka Oil Terminal as Iran’s largest crude terminal in the Caspian Sea.
The visit aimed to resume oil swaps especially in view of the fact that the Swiss firm held cooperation with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) before the halt in crude swaps.
BP (British Petroleum) is yet another company looking forward to resumption of oil swaps between Caspian Sea stated and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Hamidreza Shahdoust, a local Iranian Oil Terminals Company (IOTC) official in the city of northern city of Neka, confirmed the visit of Vitol delegation to Neka Oil Terminal adding “experts at the oil trader giant Vitol made a visit to the Iranian terminal aiming to resume oil swaps.”
The official estimated that oil swaps will be resumed from Neka terminal within the next 7 to 14 days as all facilities at the Iranian terminal are prepared for the mission.
“Neka Oil Terminal enjoys a total storage capacity of 120 thousand barrels per day in its 12 tanks,” underlined Shahdoust maintaining “moreover, the project to increase oil swap capacity to 2.5 million barrels per day has kicked off.”
Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, while pointing to Iran’s readiness for oil swap with Russia, had earlier noted “the Russian side has also voiced willingness for swapping a portion of its oil production through Iran’s route and relevant negotiations are underway.”
“The capacity exists for a maximum swap of 150 thousand oil barrels per day,” underlined Zanganeh stressing “the process would boost Iran’s market share since the replacement is delivered to customers in the Persian Gulf.”