European Commission committed to continue Iran-EU co-op

May 27, 2018 - 19:39

TEHRAN – The European Commission is committed to continuing the sectorial cooperation between the EU and Iran, be it on environment, climate action or on energy, the EC said in a statement.

The withdrawal of the United States in May from the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), might have significant impact on the environment in Iran and raise a question as whether the European Commission will meet its environmental commitments to Iran.

After the deal was signed in 2015, European countries began to invest in different sectors in Iran, particularly, in the environment protection projects. 

Given its climate, the region has great potentials for establishing solar and wind power plants. According to Reuters, a Norwegian company called Saga Energy signed a €2.5 billion ($2.94 billion) dealt with Iran’s state-owned Amin Energy Developers to build solar power plants in Iran on October 2017.

Based on the deal, solar power plants with two gigawatts (GW) of power generation capacity would have been constructed over a four- to five-year period, Saga Energy Spokesman Rune Haaland said. Saga’s deal was the latest in a flurry of deals by foreign companies since the easing of international sanctions on the country in 2016 after it agreed to limits its nuclear program.

Moreover, the ambassador of the UK to Tehran has stated that UK renewables investor Quercus has signed a deal worth 800 million euros to build and operate a 600-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Iran, on September 20, 2017. The work located in central Iran was expected to take three years, with the project coming online in 100 MW phases every six months. The company has been responsible for the construction, development and operation of the plant, for which it would have set up a specialist team based in Tehran to help deliver the project.

Additionally, Italian companies decided to invest in renewable energy projects in southern Iran, IRNA reported in April 2017. The planned projects on construction of renewable energy power plants in southern Hormozgan Province would have been completed in four years by the Italian investing companies.

In June 2017, a group of German investors signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on the construction of solar farms in North Khorasan Province in northeast of Iran, the official website of Iranian Energy Ministry (known as PAVEN) reported. A 12-member German delegation comprised of the managers and representatives of seven major German companies active in renewable energies area, travelled to the mentioned province for conducting the preliminary observations of the region. According to Alireza Sabouri, the managing director of North Khorasan’s Power Distribution Company, the companies would confirm the allocated lands for the projects after complementary studies are done in Germany.

Currently, due to the U.S. announcement of imposing probable sanctions, implementing the aforesaid projects may be hindered.  

The British company Quercus, which was supposed to build and operate the world's sixth largest solar farm in Iran, expressed doubts about the future of the project responding to an email from Khabaronline about the future cooperation with Iran after the withdrawal of the United States. 

Unfortunately, Quercus cannot comment on the future of the project at this time, the company said in the email. 

However, in an interview with Khabaronline in published October 2017, Diego Biasi, Co-Founder and CEO of Quercus said that “As far as we understood, Iran is to stay with the nuclear deal, and as long as Iran pledges to its commitments Europeans will, as well. Although, Mr. Trump could withdraw from nuclear deal, this deal has been signed by several different groups and should be implemented by other groups”.

Nonetheless, following an e-mail sent by Khabaronlinewondering about the future of environmental cooperation between Iran and Europe the European Commission has issued a statement on the continuation of environmental cooperation with Iran, as follows:

As all EU leaders recently underlined, so long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it has been doing so far and has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 10 consecutive reports, the EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal.

Work started last week on putting in place solutions to a number of issues deriving from the US' announcement, in particular to mitigate the impact of US sanctions on EU companies. 

The JCPOA is the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy which has been working and delivering on its main goal. The EU is determined to work with the international community to preserve it. 

Just recently, Miguel Arias CAÑETE met with Vice-President Isa Kalantari, the Head of the Iranian Environment Department, during his mission to Tehran. The Commissioner re-iterated that fighting climate change is an integral part of the Iran-EU cooperation on energy. In this regard, he welcomed Iran´s active participation on the past negotiations of the UN climate conferences. The EU believes that Iran plays a leading role in driving climate ambitions in the region. The Commissioner also invited Vice-President Kalantari to participate in the Ministerial on Climate Action organized by the Governments of Canada, China and the EU that will be celebrated in Brussels/Belgium in June this year.


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