Russia in zinc mining deal with Iran
Moscow, September 20, 2011
Russia has agreed to develop an Iranian zinc deposit that is among the largest in the world in a deal involving an Iranian bank that faces international sanctions, the Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported on Tuesday.
The agreement to develop the Mehdiabad zinc and lead deposit was reached at a trade meeting on September 11 that brought Russia's Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko to Iran, Kommersant reported.
Citing a source close to the talks, it said the project's cost was estimated at $1 billion-$1.2 billion. Shmatko's office did not immediately comment on the report.
Kommersant said the deal, shepherded by powerful Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, calls for a joint venture linking state conglomerate Russian Technologies with Iran's Saderat Bank, which faces US and UN sanctions.
The source said Iran was insisting on participation of the state-owned export-focused Saderat Bank, which was named in a 2008 UN Security Council resolution, approved by Russia, that tightened sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear activities.
The Security Council urged states to 'exercise vigilance' over the bank's activities abroad to avoid contributing to 'proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.'
Two years earlier, the United States had barred the bank from any direct or indirect dealings with US institutions citing it as a 'significant facilitator' of the financial activities of the Islamist group Hezbollah.-Reuters