According to local media reports, the agreement was awarded to China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) which will develop the park in Chabahar port city in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
Reports quoted Morteza Bank, the secretary of Iran’s High Council of Free Trade Zones, as saying that the development of Chabahar had a top priority in the agenda of the administration of President Hassan Rouhani.
Bank added that Rouhani’s administration had to the same effect was pushing ahead a plan to construct a pipeline to take natural gas from Iranshahr - also in Sistan-Baluchestan- to the city – what he said would help the development of petrochemical projects like the one contracted to the CPCIF. The pipeline to Iranshahr originates from South Pars energy zone and is originally meant to export gas to Pakistan, Presstv reported.
The official further emphasized that the Chinese involvement in the development of Chabahar Petrochemical Park would help with the transfer of technology to Iran.
Bank also said he hoped the project would become a milestone for the further expansion of relations between Iran and China.
A report by Iran’s Persian-language newspaper Sharq said the country had at least $18 billion still blocked in China in what it said was a result of complications related to previous sales of oil to Beijing during the years of sanctions.
It added that the amount had been accumulated in China after the government of Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) sealed a contract with Beijing in 2008 by means of which the money for oil that Iran sold to the country would be used as “bail” for exports of Chinese products to the Islamic Republic.
The scheme apparently was devised after the sanctions made it impossible for Iran to transfer the money for the oil it sold to other countries to its own accounts.
Other previous media reports in Tehran said China was working on a plan that envisaged using the blocked Iranian petrodollars to invest in petrochemical projects in Iran.