Iran looks to join China on canal

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

IRA­NIAN firms want to par­tic­i­pate in the con­struc­tion of a mas­sive canal across Nicaragua that a Chi­nese com­pany has vowed to build, Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammed Javad Zarif said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of pri­vate Ira­nian con­struc­tion com­pa­nies ac­com­pa­ny­ing Mr Zarif on a visit to Nicaragua’s cap­i­tal dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting a slice of the US$50 bil­lion pro­ject, the min­is­ter told a news con­fer­ence in Managua.

The am­bi­tious plan calls for a wa­ter­way link­ing the Pa­cific and At­lantic oceans that would ri­val the cen­tury-old one in Panama, which has re­cently been ex­panded to take big­ger ships.

Yet work on Nicaragua’s canal, meant to have started two years ago, has not be­gun. HKND, the Chi­nese group tasked with the mas­sive un­der­tak­ing, now says it should start at the end of this year.

Iran has en­joyed good re­la­tions with Nicaragua, one of the poor­est states in the Amer­i­cas, and par­tic­u­larly its leftwing pres­i­dent, for­mer rebel Daniel Ortega, who re­turned to power in 2007.

Both coun­tries share an an­tipa­thy to­ward the United States.

Mr Zarif made Nicaragua the sec­ond stop of a Latin Amer­i­can tour that be­gan on Au­gust 22 in Cuba and which was to in­clude Ecuador, Venezuela, Bo­livia and Chile.

Nicaragua’s gov­ern­ment spokesper­son and First Lady Rosario Murillo said of­fi­cials dis­cussed in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with the Ira­nian del­e­ga­tion in the canal and other com­mer­cial ar­eas.

Mr Ortega is run­ning for re-elec­tion in Novem­ber and has named his wife as the fu­ture vice pres­i­dent if he wins.

His vic­tory looks likely af­ter courts in re­cent months or­dered op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers and a party chief to be re­placed with fig­ures hew­ing to Mr Ortega’s po­si­tions. –

Photo: AFP

Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif wants Ira­nian com­pa­nies in the pro­ject.

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