MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Russia and Iran will intensify work with Europe and China in coming days to counter U.S. attempts to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in remarks published by RIA news agency on Tuesday.
Russia thinks it is wrong for major European companies to refuse to cooperate with Iran in order to protect themselves from U.S. pressure, Ryabkov added.
Several methanol cargoes from Marjan Petrochemical Company which Iran inaugurated in Asaluyeh last Tuesday are being arranged for shipment to India in late September, a Tuesday report said.
President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Iran’s energy hub in the Persian Gulf last week to open Marjan Methanol’s 1.65 million metric ton per day (mt/y) unit along with two other petrochemical facilities.
The methanol unit commenced operations in mid-August and is currently operating at around 50-60% of capacity, Platts quoted sources at the company as saying.
The shipments come as the U.S. is trying to stop Iran’s petrochemical, steel and copper exports, and to disrupt its ports and shipping services.
The U.S. has special interest in trying to curb Iran’s methanol exports. Washington is due to more than triple its capacities from 2015 to 7.5 million mt/y by end of 2018, shifting from importer to exporter, with Europe and Asia within its sights.
Iran is a major methanol producer. According to digital media company GlobalData, the country has the highest planned methanol capacity additions globally.
With its major methanol-to-olefins capacities, China is the biggest importer of Iranian methanol but India is also a potential target market.
Beijing, Iran’s biggest oil client, has pledged to keep imports steady despite U.S. sanctions while India has said it will not fully cut purchases from Tehran.
India’s state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) said on Tuesday it will lift 1 million barrels of Iranian oil this month.
Reuters, however, quoted a source privy to the company plans as saying that the refiner will skip purchase of Iranian oil in October due to turnaround at its plants.
BPCL shut down its fire-hit hydrocracker unit at Mumbai refinery last month and reportedly plans to keep it closed for at least another two months.
The world’s largest commercial turboprop maker ATR is in talks with alternative buyers for seven remaining aircraft which it has to deliver to Iran under a $536 million deal, the company’s Italian shareholder Leonardo said.
ATR has delivered 13 new generation ATR 72-600 aircraft ordered by Iran in 2016 but it has to secure licenses for further deliveries from the U.S. which imposed new sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
The European airplane manufacturer delivered five more ATR turboprop aircraft early last month just before Washington installed the new sanctions on Aug. 6.
For more deliveries, however, the company appears to have given up on soliciting the United States, with Leonardo Chief Executive Officer Alessandro Profumo telling Bloomberg TV that ATR was seeking new customers for the aircraft.
"We are pretty confident that we will finalize the re-allocation to other countries by the end of this year,” he said.
ATR’s co-owner Airbus has a deal with flag carrier IranAir for 100 commercial planes but it has delivered just three of them. Airbus said in July it would not attempt to deliver any more planes to Iran.
After the signing of a nuclear accord between Iran and other countries in 2015, IranAir ordered a total of 200 aircraft from Western planemakers. Boeing, which had sold 80 jets to IranAir, does not plan any deliveries.
The Europeans have been trying to portray the nuclear deal with Iran as a flagship achievement of their foreign policy and a symbol of their growing strength but their weakness in the face of US threats has undermined their bid.
Iranian officials have pressed the European Union to save the nuclear agreement through meaningful measures to guarantee Iran’s interests in the deal.
However, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said last month that Iranian officials should stop pinning their hopes on Europe saving the international nuclear deal.
"There is no problem with continuing relations and negotiations with Europe, but hope should be abandoned regarding matters such as the nuclear deal,” he said in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and members of his cabinet.
Ayatollah Khamenei is the champion of a resistive economy which seeks to counter sanctions through increasing the country’s resilience to outside pressures by boosting domestic production.