TEHRAN – The European Union is to take part in two upcoming business forums in Tehran on energy and climate change, which will be of great geopolitical significance amid the United States’ growing suspicion over recent agreements that unblocked diplomatic relations between Iran and the West.
Iran has signaled an interest in long-term clean energy investment and this weekend could endorse the Paris climate agreement (COP21), which is aimed at limiting the rise in average global temperatures by the end of the century to below 2 C (35.6 F) compared to pre-industrial levels.
The technology required for this can be provided by the EU, sources told EFE.
For the EU, gas will be one of the “bridging” resources in the transition towards a non-hydrocarbon economy, and Iran has the largest reserves of that raw material in the world, while the EU remains an importer with declining production.
The Iranian forums, which will be attended by more than 40 Iranian companies and 50 European firms (including Spain’s Fenosa, Acciona, ACS and Vestas), will be led on the EU side by European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, and on the Iranian side by the Minister of Petroleum, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh.
EU sources said the trip was intended to show that the EU considers Tehran to be respecting and implementing the Iran nuclear agreement known as JCPOA, which was reached with the US, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany in July 2015 and has been in force since January 2016.
US President Donald Trump, however, has taken issue with the nuclear deal, lambasting his predecessor Barack Obama for facilitating it.
Reflecting on the landmark deal, Arias Cañete said that trade between the EU and Iran had since increased by 79 percent, Iran’s exports to the EU had grown by 450 percent and a dynamic energy partnership had been established.
The commissioner will meet with the aforementioned minister of petroleum, along with the minister of energy, Hamid Chitchian, and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi.
Arias Cañete wants the EU to take a step further in the relationship between both territories.
The energy sector will play a key role in future relations and the EU and Iran are committed to fully exploiting their economic and social potential while helping to achieve their climate commitments, added the Spanish politician.
The forums will be held just before the Iranian presidential elections on May 19, in which the current president, moderate Hassan Rouhani, is the favorite to stay in office, although the absence of polls and surveys make forecasting difficult.