On 06SEP15 Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo arrived in Tehran for a 3-day visit. Margallo, who was accompanied by a 70-member delegation, held separate meetings with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. During the meetings, the Spanish official discussed a wide range of issues including bilateral ties between the two countries and ongoing crisis in the Middle East. [Source: PressTV]
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh with Spanish Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister Jose Manuel Soria
According to Oil and Gas 360:
Spain reached an agreement with Iran to ship natural gas from Iran to Europe following the release of sanctions against the country. Iranian authorities and an economic trade delegation of some 70 Spanish companies, including Repsol (ticker: REP) accompanied by government officials, visited Tehran Monday to discuss the details.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh met with Spanish Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister Jose Manuel Soria and declared Iran’s willingness to develop the infrastructure Spain needs to supply Europe with gas from the South Pars gas field.
“In the meeting we explained Iran’s facilities and programs for development of oil, gas and petrochemical industries to the Spanish companies and they expressed their interest to cooperate in these fields,” Zanganeh said. “It was emphasized in the meeting that Iranian and Spanish companies should continue their relations and the Spanish government needs to set the grounds for the presence of their companies in Iran,” he continued.
Left: Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport Ana Pastor
According to Latin American Herald Tribune:
Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport Ana Pastor announced that Spain and Iran will sign “in the shortest time possible,” a new transport agreement, which is expected to link Tehran with Madrid and Barcelona through direct flights, adding that two Iranian organizations and a Spanish airliner have already shown interest.
Pastor made the announcement at the opening of a summit in the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines in Tehran, where she arrived on an official trip with the Spanish foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, and industry minister, Jose Manuel Soria.
She explained that the civil aviation authorities have already agreed to open the way for the signing of the new transport agreement as soon as possible, under which direct flights between the two countries will be resumed, whether passenger flights or cargo.
There are two Iranian companies and a Spanish firm interested in carrying out these direct flights to foster the strengthening of economic, cultural and social relations between the two countries, according to Pastor.COMMENTARY: Likely the two Iranian carriers are Iran Air and Mahan Air, while the Spanish carrier could be Iberia Airlines, which currently flies non-direct flights to Tehran. Mahan Air has been expanding its service to Europe, which includes A346 aircraft recently acquired with Iraqi assistance.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
According to PressTV:
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Monday, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo hailed the JCPOA, saying his country is considering cooperation with Iran on all fronts.
Zarif touched upon his meeting earlier in the day with the Spanish foreign minister, and said a whole range of issues were brought up for discussion during the talks. “I had different political and regional discussions with the Spanish foreign minister, and we [also] talked about a railroad, transportation and economic infrastructure,” said Zarif in the press briefing.
Among other issues discussed, said the Iranian foreign minister, were human rights and refugees’ rights as well as the situation in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan plus the Yemen crisis. He said they also discussed regional threats which, as Zarif added, have resulted in security threats and the recent refugee crisis.COMMENTARY: There is little doubt that since the signing of JCPOA the Iranian foreign ministry is the busiest in the region. It may even be said to possess the region's diplomatic center of gravity.
Foreign Ministries of Spain and Iran in conference on 07SEP15 in Tehran
Right: Spain's Ambassador to Iran Pedro Antonio Villena
Photos: Mehgdad Madadi and Siamak Ebrahimi at Tasnim News Agency