0143 GMT February 20, 2019
VP: Domestic capacities to foil sanctions
Iranian Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri inaugurated a direct reduction iron (DRI) plant and a steel pelletizing plant in the southeastern province of Kerman.
The two plants, built with more than half a billion dollars of investment, will add one million tons of DRI, otherwise known as sponge iron, and 2.5 million tons of iron ore pellets to Iran’s burgeoning steel production.
The first plant commissioned Tuesday was the Butia pelletizing near the city of Kerman, the provincial capital, which has been producing pellets on a trial basis since April.
Jahangiri then traveled to Bardsir to open its one-million-ton DRI plant for production of billets and blooms.
The construction of Bardsir Steel with some $357 million marked the application of localized technology in design, installation and commissioning of a 140-ton electric arc furnace as well as ladle furnace and a continuous casting machine.
Iran is currently the second producer of DRI after India. New steel plants built in the country are widely using the new Persian Reduction (PERED) technology, which was invented and patented by MME, an Iranian-origin company registered in Germany.
Last January, Iran completed the hot commissioning of Neyriz Steel Complex in the southern Fars Province which uses domestic technology for DRI production.
“This is the country’s third sponge iron project using the domestic Iranian DR technology, PERED,” state mines and metals holding company IMIDRO chairman Mehdi Karbasian said at the time.
Head of the Iranian Steel Producers Association Bahram Sobhani said last month that Iran is capable of producing 25 million tons of steel in the current fiscal year which ends on March 21.
The country plans to increase its nominal DRI and hot-briquetted iron (HBI) capacity to 55 million tons a year by 2025.
However, the sector is facing the headwinds of newly-imposed US sanctions, chiefly because they make attracting foreign investment difficult and steel mill equipment makers avoid the country.
Nevertheless, industry experts concede that even in worst-case scenarios, Iran’s steel industry will continue to grow. That is because the steel sector feeds more than 50 industries linked to construction in the country of 80 million where there is always strong demand for steel.
US economic war ‘ineffective’
After opening the plants, Jahangiri said Iran cannot be sanctioned due to its enormous capacities and that the nation will overcome US sanctions by relying on domestic capabilities.
“The Iranian nation, by relying on domestic capabilities and capacities, will defeat the enemy’s sanctions,” he said.
Jahangiri called for accelerating the country’s development so that the enemy understands that sanctions will not affect Iran.
“We need to move the development current to a direction where the enemy realizes that sanctions will have no effect on us,” Jahangiri said.
“We should have a spirit of self-confidence and should not underestimate ourselves because Iran is a huge country with vast capacities,” he added.
US President Donald Trump ushered in “the most biting sanctions ever imposed” against Iran in August by declaring that “they ratchet up to yet another level” in November when the second round of the sanctions was imposed.
“Anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the United States,” he said then.
Jahangiri said the US has waged an “economic war” with the aim of causing an “economic collapse” in Iran. “But today’s (inauguration) ceremonies prove that the US economic war has no effect.”
The vice president dismissed the campaign, saying “we are looking for dialogue and a logical solution but we are not amenable to bullying and humiliation.”
“In the current difficult economic conditions, we have repeatedly told the people that we can cope with the sanctions with a head held high and put these difficult conditions behind us with systematic planning.”
“With precise planning, we have full knowledge about the problems of the country and the people and have planned to pull through them,” Jahangiri said on Tuesday.
“The government has also planned for the development of the country, the enemy's plans against us, the economic situation of the people, the export and import, and the management of the people's lives,” he said.
Press TV contributed to this story.