Coffee Imports at $1m in One Month

Iran imported 346 tons of coffee worth close to $1 million during the first Iranian month (March 21-April 20), registering an increase of 35.69% and 52.16% in tonnage and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period. ISNA also cited data from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration as reporting that Vietnam was the biggest exporter with over 133 tons of shipment. Other exporters included Germany, the UAE, Indonesia, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Poland and India.

Above 4,600 industrial projects inaugurated in Iran during 10 months

TEHRAN- During the ten-month period ended on January 20, 2018, some 4,616 industrial projects have been inaugurated in Iran, IRNA quoted the deputy industry minister on Wednesday.

According to Mahmoud Navvabi, who made the remarks during the inaugural ceremony of two industrial parks in the northern province of Gilan, the number will reach 6,000 by the end of the current Iranian calendar year.

Azimut Group to Iran

The Azimut group has signed a contract to acquire 20% of Mofid Entekhab, an independent asset management company in the country, and has signed an onshore financial advisory plan and set up an offshore fund to guarantee foreign investors access to the Iranian capital market.

Iranian private steel mills to form export consortium

Iran is establishing a consortium of private re-rollers to boost exports of the product, said a member of the board of directors of Iranian Steel Producers’ Association (ISPA) and managing director of the country’s largest re-roller Kavir Steel Complex.

“Privately owned re-rollers have agreed to establish an exporting consortium or a cooperative company to integrate and facilitate the export of private producers’ production,” Ahmad Khorvash was quoted as saying by Platts.

“With the establishment of this consortium, we expect a boost the export of more valuable products, instead of crude steel.”

Most of Iran’s exports are billet and slab, although Esfahan Steel Co., or ESCO, recently announced its first rebar shipment into the UK. Rebar exports from Iran have traditionally gone into neighboring countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iranian rebar exports have increased to 397,000 tons over April-December — up 98 percent from the same period of last year — according to ISPA. However, private rolling mills are working at well below installed capacity due to low demand in the domestic market.

More rebar is expected to be exported in the future.

“As a result of the deep recession in the domestic construction industry, the capacity of rebar is clearly more than consumption at the moment and exports could be the only solution,” a private re-roller told S&P Global Platts.

He estimated Iran’s nominal rebar capacity at around 20 million tons per year.

Iran, Russia Ink Caspian Oil Exploration Agreements

The agreements were signed during a visit to Moscow by Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh and followed several months of negotiations.

However, no details regarding the documents have been releases as yet.

This would be the first time for Iran and Russia to cooperate over an energy-related project in the Caspian Sea.

Also, the agreements are significant given that Iran and other littoral states of the Sea – Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – are yet to determine its maritime and seabed boundaries.

Despite extensive negotiations, the legal status of the Caspian Sea has been unclear since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

To the same effect, the littoral states refrain from conducting oil and gas exploration operations in border areas that could put them into an ownership dispute with the neighbors.  Therefore, chances are high that Iran’s partnership with Lukoil could eventually help demarcate the basin boundaries between the five countries.

Iran has already discovered an oil field dubbed as Sardar Jangal in the Southern parts of the Caspian Sea.

Sardar-e-Jangal field contains an estimated 1.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in-place and some 500 million barrels of recoverable crude. Experts believe it could become Iran’s first major oil/gas field development project in the Caspian Sea, as the country has already made progress in studying the field’s geological structures and its reserves, Iran’s English-language newspaper the Financial Tribune wrote in a recent report.

The Caspian region is one of the oldest oil-producing areas in the world and is an increasingly important source of global energy production. It holds an estimated 48 billion barrels of oil and more than 8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in proven and probable reserves.

According to the US Energy Information Association, between 2000 and 2012, Turkmenistan produced more than 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Caspian basin, followed by Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Iran’s production has been zero.

Zangeneh arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to attend the 19th ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

The 12 main members of the forum are Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.

Countries like the Netherlands, Norway, Iraq, Oman, Peru and Azerbaijan Republic are observer members of the forum.


Iran potatoes Sold to 13 Countries

More than 60,550 tons of potatoes worth 448.76 billion ($13.83 million) were exported to 13 countries during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22), the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration announced.

The main export destinations were Turkmenistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, the UAE, Russia and Qatar, Mizan Online reported.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, close to 5 million tons of potatoes are produced in Iran every year, which suffices domestic demand.


Iran starts building South Pars gas sweetening unit

The project was assigned to the Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Company to construct the sweetening unit aimed at taking the sour Sulfur compounds from gas condensate in phases 2 and 3 of the South Pars gas field,’ The project manager of the Demercaptanization (DMC) Unit in Gas and Oil Pars Company Sirous Peykar said.

The unit’s goal will be sweetening the gas condensate in the South Pars refineries, he added, saying that the project is being implemented for the first time in the field to decrease the corrosion resulted by the harmful compounds in refineries, as well as improving the quality of gas condensate and raising the added value of the product.

It is assessed that the project implementation will take 10 months, given that the contractor has supplied 50 percent of the equipment, according to him.

South Pars field that Iran shares with Qatar, has 19 billion barrels of gas condensate in its Iranian part, 9 billion barrels of which is recoverable.

810,000 barrels of gas condensate are currently produced in 18 phases of the field, some 80,000 barrels are recovered from phases 2 and 3.


Iran most Popular Websites

What follows is a list of eight most popular domestic websites using analytics services Alexa and SimilarWeb score for August.

#1 Aparat

Aparat, an online sharing website known too some as YouTube’s Iranian counterpart, tops the list.  It has climbed one step higher from last year’s second position and is the second most-referred-to online portal by Iranian users.

Given the fact that YouTube is blocked in Iran, Aparat set out to fill the void and created a platform where users could upload and stream videos.

Launched in 2011, it has come a long way and seen a huge jump in global ranking moving from 543rd to 170th of all websites.

#2 DigiKala

The second rank belongs to DigiKala, a mature market leader in e-commerce and the second most visited online store in the Middle East after in the United Arab Emirates.

It is known for its unique business model and customer-centric approach. Established in 2007 as an online retail website, Digikala has risen to prominence in less than a decade.

A portmanteau of digital and kala (meaning “goods” in Persian), Digikala, has expanded the categories of goods available for e-purchase and now includes sports and leisure, healthcare and beauty, home appliances and artistic products.

As of August, DigiKala’s global ranking was 333 based on data published by Last year it came in at 494.

#3 Varzesh3

The website Varzesh3 (“sport” in Persian), the oldest and most popular sports news site and the third popular local website in Iran.

It was not among the top ten sites last year but now has become the fourth most-referred-to online destination.

On the global ranking list it stands at 330, which signifies the importance of Persian football leagues with fans.

#4 Shaparak

The fourth place belongs to Shaparak, a payment network through which most online and cyber-based transactions are conducted.

Electronic card payment network system (Shaparak) is a platform bringing together payment service providers (PSP) and their digital-POS terminals in a highly integrated system.

Just like Varzesh3, Shaparak was not among the top websites last year. Its graduation is yet another indication of Iran’s shift to digital shopping.

As the seventh-most popular website, it has reached 540th position in global ranking – up 45 places  in three months.

#5 Divar

Divar is now the fifth-most visited website. It is a classifieds internet site, which also has a mobile app where people sell, buy or swap cars, furniture, household appliances and musical instruments.

The listings website has dropped one step compared to last year, which could be due to the birth of other similar platforms like Sheypoor.

Globally, Divar is in 744th place and in Iran tenth overall.

#6 Blogfa

At the eleventh place, Blogfa has gained the sixth position among the successful domestic platforms. The Persian “weblog hosting” site has pushed Mihanblog, Blogfa’s main competitor to the wayside.

Blogfa currently is 748th on the world scale with an eye-catching rise of 102 places from May.

#7 Telewebion

Telewebion is a Persian-language free video streaming service that provides state television Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) programs archive online.

Visitors also can watch the programs live in Telewebion hosted on local servers.

The improvement of high-speed Internet in the past couple of years has helped video hosting sites move up the ranking.

The site is the 768th most-visited platform globally with a 21-grade improvement over three months.

Iran Gov’t Prioritizing Establishment of IoT Infrastructure

Deputy Telecoms Minister Amir Hossein Davaie said establishing Internet of Things in the country requires clear rules and efficient infrastructure defined by the ministry, urging the necessity of the government’s involvement in the subject.

IoT applications allow users to monitor everything from fridges to metro systems by connecting remote sensors with computers, mobile phones and smartwatches.

“As long as the government does not play a major role in the matter and there are no clear rules and regulations, no window for implementing IoT would be opened,” Davaie, who is the deputy minister for technology and innovation, was also quoted as saying by CITNA on the sidelines of an IoT workshop held in Tehran.

Iran’s Faculty of Information and Communications Technology hosted a three-day international workshop on IoT, which wrapped up on Monday.

The workshop was organized jointly by the International Telecommunications Union, the Faculty of ICT, Iran’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Chinese Academy of ICT under the auspices of the ITU ASP COE.


Davaie said the preliminary requirement to pave the way for establishing IoT in the country is improvement of infrastructures.

“There are currently several firms and operators seeking to launch IoT in the country. However, they are facing piloting issues due to lack of infrastructure,” he said.

The deputy minister touched upon recent moves undertaken in the field, saying the Internet Protocol version 6, which is a necessity, is due to be launched by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2018).

IPv6 is the latest version of Internet protocols set to replace the current IPv4 protocol.

The sixth version uses a 128-bit structure while the old IPv4 can only deliver a 32-bit structure for Internet communications.

The development of machine-to-machine and Internet of Things technology can connect many devices such as mobile phones, cameras and even home appliances and digital picture frames. This has increased the need to improve the Internet protocol.


Davaie noted that the biggest challenge in running IPv6 and IoT is the “security of users and data” and protecting their privacy, which should top the agenda.

IoT, around the globe, is advancing business prospects and bringing new capabilities and efficiencies to companies to help them stay competitive.

However, its great potential also comes with new opportunities for cybercriminals.

A single cyberattack can inflict millions of dollars in damage. These threats are unfortunately inherent to IoT technology, which is reshaping almost every element of modern life, from driving cars to taking medication and adjusting the thermostat.

Unlike data and privacy breaches, which threaten to compromise medical records and credit-card information, the security risks to IoT devices could have far greater consequences—for example, putting patients, automobile drivers and others at risk.

Davaie noted that should the country be equipped with IoT technology, setting up proper standards for securing IoT devices is prioritized over all other factors.


Iran Signs $1.3bn High-Speed Rail Deal with Italy

Iran’s state railway company and its Italian counterpart have signed a deal worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to build a high-speed rail line between Iranian cities of Arak and Qom.

Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), and head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways Saeed Mohammadzadeh oversaw the signing of the agreement in Tehran on Tuesday for the first stretch of a high-speed rail line which FS plans to build in Iran.

The other link is to be built between Tehran and Hamadan, with the overall deal worth 5 billion euros which Ferrovie initially signed under a framework agreement when former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi visited Tehran with a delegation of business leaders last April.

The Italian group has also been connected with the planning and construction of a high-speed rail corridor between Tehran, Qom and Isfahan, and electrification of the rail link between Tehran and Tabriz on the way to the Caucasus and Turkey.

The deal signed on Tuesday foresees FS supplying assistance to the Iranian railways for both high-speed and conventional rail lines, including a complete program for training personnel.

Iran plans to invest $25 billion over the next 10 years in the modernization and expansion of its railway network, stretching out its railroad line to 25,000 kilometers by 2025 from under 15,000 kilometers now.

On Tuesday, Mohammadzadeh said one percent of oil and gas sales have been dedicated to rail development in Iran’s sixth development plan.

The country’s transport expansion plans include aligning with the regional rail networks in the Persian Gulf, the subcontinent and Central Asia.

In July 2015, France’s architectural firm AREP signed a $7 million deal for redevelopment of three main railway stations in Iran, marking a return of European companies to the country after the conclusion of a nuclear accord.

AREP, a subsidiary of France’s national railway company SNCF, will rebuild the stations in the Iranian capital, Tehran, as well as the holy cities of Mashhad and Qom which attract millions of pilgrims every year.