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Mon, Sep 17, 2007
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Rls. 40 Trillion Invested in
Water Sector p.a.
Ekbatan Dam’s Height Increased
Plans to Promote Renewable Energy
By Sadeq Dehqan
Banks’ Assets Up
Stock Market Booming
Nozari: World Crude Supply Sufficient
Iran to Boost Output
Majlis Okays Outlines of Article 44 Bill
Logan Raising Production
Support for Closer Bahrain Cooperation

Rls. 40 Trillion Invested in
Water Sector p.a.
Ekbatan Dam’s Height Increased
Close to 40 trillion rials are invested annually in the water sector, including water supply and irrigation systems, Energy Minister Parviz Fattah said.
He pointed out that the government attaches great importance to the water sector, adding that funds for water projects in the provinces have increased significantly, IRNA wrote.
The minister said that if the Cabinet and the Majlis support water projects in the next decade, the ministry can improve water supply to a favorable level.
Regretting that water supply in Iran is not satisfactory, he pointed out that some regions have high precipitation while it is nil in other regions, he compared.
Fattah continued that officials are obliged to control water supply and transfer water to regions with low precipitation.
He elaborated that about 88 dams are under construction nationwide and feasibility studies are being conducted on over 170 dams.
Precipitation during 2006-2007 crop year was better than that in previous years and even the 38-year average. Therefore, this summer conditions were more favorable.
In related news, the first national project to increase the height of Ekbatan Dam in Hamedan province by 25 meters was inaugurated late Saturday.
With the implementation of the project, the volume of water in Ekbatan Dam reservoir increased to 40 million cubic meters from eight million cubic meters. Some 450 billion rials has been spent on the project.

Plans to Promote Renewable Energy
By Sadeq Dehqan
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A solar energy site near Taleqan-Tehran Road (Photo by Ali Hassanpour)
Global energy demand has increased by 3.3 percent in the past three decades. The growing need has made countries step up efforts to find new and renewable energy sources.
Given Iran’s rich renewable energy sources such as the sun and high force wind, Energy Ministry’s Energy Department was assigned in 1995 to establish an organization to focus on renewable energy. Iran Renewable Energy Organization was finally set up in February 2000 as per a cabinet ratification.
One of the organization’s objective is to develop power plants operating on renewable energy sources such as wind or biomass. The organization has signed contracts to purchase electricity generated by private wind farms and biomass sites. This would help encourage private investors in the long run.
Organization’s managing director, Yousef Armoudeli said that one-day workshops are arranged free of charge to augment knowledge of teachers and those holding associate degrees in technical majors.
Talking to reporters visiting an experimental site for renewable energy sources near Taleqan-Tehran Road, the official said that such sites will conduct research and add to public awareness.
Armoudeli reiterated that apart from being a hydrocarbon-rich country, Iran has abundant renewable energy sources which should be capitalized on.
Researches are underway in the country to identify renewable energy sources and make sites to use them, he elaborated.
The official added that these sites are environment-friendly, need no fossil fuel and can be constructed in remote regions.
Armoudeli noted that the government has planned to gradually increase investments made in these sources. A part of the national energy demand should be supplied by these sources, he said.
The official cited the Fourth Five-Year Development Plan (2005-2010) based on which one percent, meaning 500 megawatts, of the country’s electricity be generated from renewable energy sources.
“We have 300 sunny days in 90 percent of the country,“ Armoudeli said, adding this gives the country an opportunity to take advantage of solar energy.
Referring to a project underway in Meshkinshahr, Ardebil province, to use geothermal energy, the official explained that 21 wells, some of them 3,000 meters deep, have been drilled in the summit of Mount Sabalan for the purpose.
He further named biomass as an important energy source. Two projects in the northeastern city of Mashhad and southern Shiraz City are being carried out. Plant material, vegetation and agricultural waste are dumped in these sites to produce 1.6 megawatts of electricity.
Armoudeli noted that Manjil Power Plant was also established to use wind power. The capacity of the plant is planned to reach 100 megawatts. Manjil wind power plant, Iran’s first, was launched in 1999.

Banks’ Assets Up
The assets and debts of banks rose to 3,841 trillion rials, indicating a 4.3 percent growth.
Central Bank of Iran’s Investigation Office said that overseas holdings of banks increased to 972 trillion rials, showing a growth of 4.8 percent, ISNA reported.
The government’s debt to banks was estimated at 278.83 trillion rials--a growth of 8.8 percent. Also private sector debts to banks reached 1,299 trillion rials.
Miscellaneous assets of banks declined by 1.6 percent and reached 660 trillion rials.
Liquidity held by banks soared to 1,341 trillion rials, of which 403 trillion rials was in cash and 938 trillion was in the form of capital goods.
State loans and deposits increased to 247 trillion rials. Overseas credits and foreign exchange deposits stood at 535 trillion rials.
Meanwhile, private banks and credit institutes extended financial facilities worth 173 trillion rials until June 21, which indicated a 5.5 percent growth compared to the figure for March.

Stock Market Booming
Stock exchange transactions have grown by 30 percent since March to reach 36,000 billion rials, said managing director of Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE).
Recalling that last year’s total bourse trading reached 55,000 billion rials, Ali Rahmani predicted that this year’s share trading would border 90,000 rials. “Since June 22, we have witnessed fresh capital entering the stock market.“
He termed the rise in minor transactions in Tehran bourse as proof that stock exchange is booming since this summer. “Value of minor transactions in TSE reached 150 billion to 200 billion rials per day from the earlier figure of 43 billion rials.“
The official noted that bourse index set a record in last week to touch 35,000. The previous record, 34,939, was registered on Dec. 14, 2004. Rahmani further noted these figures show that the stock market has bounced back and begun its upward trend.
The bourse index shows the general status of the stock market at different times and follows the formula of dividing the current value of all bourse companies to the basic value of companies at the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2007).
Also, he underlined that demand for purchase of shares has increased recently. Many investors are keen on buying stocks of profit-making companies because of the huge profits in these firms.
Stressing that sale of shares of the National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICIC) on Wednesday was well received, Rahmani said that those who bought stocks of companies privatized under Article 44 of the Constitution have gained profits equal to real estate market investment.
Real estate market is traditionally a lucrative business in Iran. Domestic investors prefer to put money into building construction to make huge benefits.
Last Monday, the overall bourse index exceeded 10,000 once again after a lull of six months. The index became a five-digit figure after it increased by 191 units on September 10 due to a 141-unit rise in share value of NICIC and a 64-unit increase in share value of Golgohar Company.
After the government vowed to enforce privatization policies stipulated in Article 44, bourse transactions also gained momentum. The recent improvement in the capital market is seen as the natural outcome of investors’ growing trust in Iran’s initiatives to overcome the nuclear dispute.

Nozari: World Crude Supply Sufficient
Iran to Boost Output
World oil supply is sufficient and may even be higher despite the recent hike in oil prices, Caretaker of the Oil Ministry Gholamhossein Nozari said.
“In any case, we at OPEC believe that the current supply is sufficient, if not slightly higher,“ Nozari told the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger.
Speculation and refinery capacities also played a role in the spike in oil prices, Reuters reported from Zurich quoting Nozari.
OPEC agreed this week to increase output by 500,000 barrels per day from November 1 as oil prices hit a record of over $80 per barrel and the group has expressed concern that turmoil in world financial markets could hurt US and global economic growth, which could dent oil demand.
Nozari said that Iran had got used to the sanctions imposed by the United States. “In the past two years, we managed to attract $37 billion of investments in our oil industry,“ he said. “We have got used to US sanctions. We have learned how to handle them,“ he added.
Asked how Iran dealt with the pressure the US was exerting on other countries to sever business ties with the country, Nozari said, “Let me be frank. Those countries that need energy will overcome this problem somehow.“
He further said that Iran would significantly increase its daily oil production in the coming years from the current 4.2 million barrels per day. “Until the end of our fifth five-year plan in 2015, our production capacity should be 5.3 million barrels per day. But despite its oil and gas resources Iran wanted to use nuclear energy,“ Nozari said.
“Like other countries, we want to have diverse sources of energy,“ he declared.
Nozari said that Iran’s restriction on gasoline use was paying off and most people supported the measures. “We will thus be able to export not only crude oil but also more refined products such as fuel,“ he said.
“We will increase our refinery capacities by one million barrel per day for this,“ he said.

Majlis Okays Outlines of Article 44 Bill
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The bill envisages transfer of shares of 80 percent of companies covered by Article 44 to the cooperatives or private sectors within eight years.
Majlis on Sunday ratified the general outlines of a single-urgency bill on implementing Article 44 of the Constitution.
The parliament voted 168 to 25 with 12 abstentions on the bill dealing with implementation of Article 44 which seeks large-scale privatization in key economic sectors and downsizing the government.
The bill comprising 10 chapters and 91 articles envisages that shares of 80 percent of companies covered by Article 44 have to be transferred to the cooperatives or private sectors within eight years.
Chairman of the bill’s special commission in the Majlis, Elias Naderan observed that if the bill goes into effect, it would help reduce state monopoly, increase private involvement in the national economy, encourage investment and empower various social strata.
Also, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Davoud Danesh-Jafari said that the state-run economy will go nowhere. “Today many countries, which were lagging behind our country in the past, have better economy because of taking advantage of their private sectors.“ Defending the bill in the Majlis, the minister added that in the past, the national economy was dependent on financial and investment capabilities of the government. These capabilities were consequently unstable due to fluctuations in oil revenues. In other words, if the oil revenues plummeted, it would have been brought government’s economic plans to a standstill as it did in 1999. He assured the parliamentarians that implementation of the bill would help increase productivity, cut inflation and develop the country.

Logan Raising Production
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The French Logan or Tondar 90 is Type B of the L-90 series of Renault automobiles.
About 250,000-300,000 units of Logan (Tondar 90) automobiles will be manufactured in Iran by 2009, head of international L90 project announced on Sunday.
Gerard de Tourbe told journalists in Frankfurt Auto Show that attaining mass production is one of the problems hindering the manufacturing of Tondar 90 in the Islamic Republic, IRNA reported.
“Quality is very important for Renault Company,“ he said, adding that cars which are manufactured in Iran are exactly the same as those produced overseas.
Pointing to the production of L90 spare parts in Iran, de Tourbe pointed out, “If we import spare parts, we should pay tax to the Iranian government and the price of the car will be increased.“
The French Logan whose name has been changed to Tondar 90 is Type B of the L-90 series of Renault automobiles that operate on 1.6-liter engines, 16 valves, and 107 horsepower.
Frankfurt Auto Show started on September 11 and will continue until September 23. Some 40 countries are displaying their latest products in the event.

Support for Closer Bahrain Cooperation
Iran’s new Ambassador to Manama Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Saturday that Tehran and Manama have agreed to form a high committee co-chaired by Iranian and Bahraini foreign ministers to broaden cooperation in all fields.
He told reporters that Tehran is ready to expand ties with Bahrain in various fields, IRNA reported.
He said that the high committee will initiate debates on oil and gas cooperation in parallel with Tehran-Manama Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation.
Abdollahian, who presented his credentials to Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, said that appointing a plenipotentiary ambassador to Bahrain indicates the extent to which Iran is willing to broaden ties with Bahrain.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is eager to upgrade ties with Manama, he said and added that he would do his best during his tenure to promote relations.
Tehran seeks to bolster economic cooperation with Bahrain by activating a free trade zone between the two countries. There is huge untapped economic potential which should be further explored, the diplomat said.
He called on private sectors to play significant role in broadening bilateral ties.