For many regular Ukrainians Iran means a horror story about Islamic regime and rightless women. The regime is indeed Islamic and the country lives under the Sharia laws, but at the same time it is very welcoming, many-sided and interesting. Moreover, Iran is one of the significant foreign trade partners of Ukraine. There is a number of long-term joint investment projects which make our country respectable and well-known in Iran, as well in the whole Middle East.

Major projects

First of all it is joint production of planes An-140, started in 2001 in the large city of Esfahan at HESA plant (Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation). The project was initiated back in 1990s, when Teheran decided to start own production of aerotechnics and in 1994 announced a tender for the best project in the this sphere. A consortium of enterprises presenting Ukrainian aviation industry overcame rivals from Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Belgium and Spain, and in 1995 a contract on joint production, design and technology transition was signed between Antonov plant and HESA. The first production airplane, constructed at HESA and named "IrAn-140", got off the ground in 2001. Project manager of Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) Hassan Parvaneh told  ForUm that there were about 15 liners produced for the period of 2001-2012 out of the total of 30 airplanes to be constructed by 2015.

There are also plans to establish cooperation on production of passenger regional jets An-148/158. According to Parvaneh, the agreements with Kyiv are about to be signed, and the assembly may start already this year. The framework contract on An-158 was signed in 2011 and provides for supply of 16 aircrafts and manufacture of another 64 in Iran. The total cost of the long-term project (up to 20 years) makes $2.4 billion.

Aviation industry is not the only sphere of cooperation. Ukrainian specialists also participate in the construction of the first Iranian nuclear power plant with capacity of 1GW in the city of Bushehr. Main contractor of the project is Russia, but 70-75% of staff are Ukrainians working for Russian companies, experts note. The construction process is almost finished, and it will be the first NPP not only in Iran but also in the Middle East, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereydoon Abbasi says. He also adds that Teheran "offered several countries to invest into new nuclear power plants on the Iranian territory and then sell the electricity. Considering the successful joint experience with Russia in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran is interested in being an investor of such facilities in other countries to accumulate more experience in the nuclear industry. Ukraine also can participate in such projects given that we have long experience of cooperation."

Further development

In 2012 our country supplied Iran with atomic and allied equipment worth $200 million, economist Vitaly Kulik informs. It is 46% more than last year and makes 17% of our export to Iran in monetary terms, which grew by 3.3% last year (to $1165 mln). Supplies of atomic-power equipment take the third place in the export structure (after crops and fats and oils). Persian land is mostly irreclaimable, and Ukrainian agro-industrial complex has high potential of export to Iran given that home consumption there grows constantly.

Among other export lines there are metal products. In 2012 Ukraine supplied Iran with steel products worth $90 million. The sum is relatively smallish, but the trade with Iran is limited by international sanctions and trade partners have to seek bypass. "Success of metal export is particularly praiseworthy considering rapid development of domestic metallurgy in Iran. Thus, national steelmaking in Iran grew by 5.7% last year, up to 15 million tons."

To compare, Iranian export to Ukraine in 2012 made $67.4 million. Analysts agree that such small figures are the result of international sanction, but point out that our countries have high potential for mutual goods turnover. The matter concerns not only industrial materials and agrarian production, but also pharmaceutical sector, which takes 15% in the export structure. We also should not forget apparel and footwear, as well as famous Persian carpets and folk craft items, like dishes and vases of various forms, colors and purposes.

Saipa cars are also popular on Ukrainian market. According to Abdolhamid Asadian, director of the Europe and America Bureau of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, import of Saipa cars in Ukraine increased threefold in 2012, to $1.6 million in monetary terms. It is not much, but Saipa is a good low-budget car for those who need a car but are concerned by the price, Kulik believes. Thus, it means that the interest to this car may grow in the coming years.

Generally speaking, there are no doubts that both countries can continue developing trade cooperation and joint projects. Thus, Iran develops railroads, and Ukraine has a wealth of experience in this sphere. Iran is actively constructing  subways, and again, Ukraine can help. On the other hand, Iran builds excellent highways and can share experience with Ukrainian road builders. Put in shortly, there are many areas of cooperation we can develop for mutual benefit.

Andriy Boyarunets


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