11/11/2019, 09.21
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Iran announces oil reserves of 53 billion barrels and strengthens ties with Beijing

The new reserve is located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan and has an area of ​​2400 km2. China and Iran have signed a $ 400 billion economic and commercial partnership. Investments in energy and infrastructure. The Emirates are inviting the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table to ease tension in the region.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A new oil field in the south-west of the country, with such a vast potential as to increase total reserves by at least a third, was announced yesterday by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He added that the vast reserve is located in the province of Khuzestan and has an area of ​​2400 square km and could contain up to 53 billion barrels of crude oil.

"The workers and explorers of the Iranian National Oil Company - said Rouhani yesterday in a speech in the central city of Yazd, broadcast on TV - discovered a field with reserves of 53 billion barrels". Oil revenues, he added, could increase by $ 32 billion "if the extraction rate increases even by just 1%".

The Islamic Republic is the fourth nation in the world for oil reserves and the second for gas. In January 2018 the estimated reserves in terms of barrels of oil was 157 billion barrels. "I address the White House - the president concluded - to tell you that, when you put sanctions on Iranian oil, workers and engineers of the national company were able to discover 53 billion barrels".

Rouhani's reference is to Donald Trump's 2018 decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ​​ which was followed by the toughest sanctions in history against Iran. Washington, which has its sight sets on the oil exports of the Islamic Republic has strengthened the military presence in the area. But the sanctions are primarily affecting the population.

To curb the effects of US sanctions, the Islamic Republic has turned its sights to China by strengthening its economic and commercial partnership, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Proof of this is the agreement signed at the end of an official visit to Beijing by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to whom Beijing has agreed to an investment plan of 400 billion dollars.

An ambitious project and the most important investment plan that China has ever made in a foreign country, an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to preliminary information, the development project involves Chinese investment of 280 billion in the oil and natural gas sector. Another 120 billion will be allocated to strengthen transport and infrastructure for the first five years in which the agreement will be in force. In return, Beijing will have a preferential channel to decide whether or not to participate in all future petrochemical projects that will be launched by the Islamic Republic.

Finally, on the diplomatic side, the United Arab Emirates are inviting Iran to the negotiating table with the world powers and the governments of the region, to reach a "new agreement" that eases tension in the Middle East area. "Further escalation at this point - said UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash - is of no use to anyone and we firmly believe that there is room for the success of a collective diplomacy". He finally warned against a "wrong choice" between war and an "imperfect" nuclear agreement.

Last week the Iranian president had written a letter to the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, inviting them to discussion and dialogue towards "peace and stability".

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