EU Firms Face No Limit on Technology Transfer to Iran

EU Firms Face No Limit on Technology Transfer to Iran
EU Firms Face No Limit on Technology Transfer to Iran

Haldor Topsoe, a Danish producer of process plants, says European Union companies face no restriction in transferring technology to Iran more than four months after the lifting of sanctions against the country.

"Iranian firms are highly interested in advanced European technologies and we face no limits in offering our knowhow," Kim Braad Carlsen, a project manager at Haldor Topsoe, was quoted as saying by Shana.

"There are still some issues, such as banking relations, but Europeans have lifted bans on transfer of technology to Iran."

Carlsen was speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran for the introduction of European technology for process plants in a wide range of industries such as chemical and petrochemical.

Iran was largely shut out of the global financial and banking system when the US and the EU sanctions against its nuclear program were in place. But it is gradually rekindling trade and ties with the world following the easing of most western sanctions on January 16.

"Iran's market was, for years, deprived of advanced technology to tap into its huge natural resources. We are negotiating with some Iranian companies to sign deals … There is a huge ground for cooperation in Iran," he said.

With headquarters in the US, China, Russia, India and Argentina, Haldor Topsoe is a technology and license provider of catalysts and processes used for producing a wide range of chemical products. The Danish company is eying opportunities for partnership and investment in Iran's resurging petrochemical sector. It has signed a contract with Badr-e-Shargh Petrochemical Complex for licenses, engineering, proprietary equipment, materials and catalyst for a new methanol plant in the southern Iranian port city of Chabahar, according to a statement on the company's website.

The company has kept tabs on Iran's market after Tehran's landmark nuclear deal with six world powers last year.

Per K. Bakkerud, a senior Haldor Topsoe official, told a petrochemical conference in Tehran in December that the Danish firm was "learning more and expanding contacts" in the Iranian petrochemical sector.

  Call for Easing Investment

Dominique Henri, the chief executive of French petrochemical firm Heurtey Petrochem, said on the sidelines of the same conference that the European Union should grease the wheels of investment in Iran now that the country is freed of sanctions.

"As a player in France's economy, I call on European governments to ease the process for funding Iranian projects," Henri said.

Heurtey Petrochem is an international oil and gas engineering group that provides process furnaces for refining and petrochemical production.

According to the official, Heurtey Petrochem started its business in India nearly a decade ago. At the time, Indian firms imported 70% of material and equipment, but they now provide 80% of all components in the petrochemical industry.

"Iran can certainly experience a similar development, having advanced industries and workforce," he said.

Iran, which has scaled back its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of international embargos, has been pressing the US and the EU to hold their own end of the bargain in the nuclear accord by paving the way for the return of internationals in the country's wobbling economy.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has encouraged European businesses in the past few weeks to reboot business with Iran without fear of violating the sanctions.

But the government of President Hassan Rouhani says it is not reaping the benefits of sanctions removal enough, urging the West to render verbal expressions of rapprochement into practical steps to boost trade.