Most of the Iranian businesspeople who took part in the forum visited Moscow after attending the Innoprom-2019 International Industrial Trade Fair, which was held from Monday through Thursday in Yekaterinburg.
Apart from entrepreneurs, the B2B forum in Moscow was attended by Iranian Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei, Vice-President of Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Padalko and Russian-Iranian Business Council Chairman Vladimir Obydenov.
After the opening remarks by Russian and Iranian officials, the businesspeople had an opportunity for an informal chat with each other during a coffee break and then proceed to B2B talks, which resembled speed dating - Russian entrepreneurs rotated between tables, where their Iranian counterparts would make a presentation of their products and technologies. It appeared that some of those "dates" ended with preliminary agreements on future cooperation, yet most Iranian entrepreneurs chose not to name their Russian vis-a-vis to protect a trade secret.
Kambiz Moazami, the managing director of the KaniKavan Shargh engineering company working in mining, oil and gas sectors, did not have many expectations for the forum, but was taken aback by a significant interest in his company by other participants - a Sputnik correspondent tried to approach him several times, but was outraced by Russian entrepreneurs.
When Moazami finally had time to talk to press he told Sputnik that he had held talks with some ten companies on that day.
"Actually, I was really surprised. I believe today was extremely good. Too many companies have come directly here, and I had discussions with them. It was very good discussion. I believe we can start direct negotiation and direction cooperation with these companies ... When I came here 10 years ago, very rarely Russian companies were interested to work with us. Now it is very different. I believe about ten companies have come here to me. I was completely [shocked] - what is happening?" Moazami exclaimed.
The businessmen noted that both Russia and Iran faced the US sanctions, but pointed out that opportunities often arose in difficult situations. He further explained that his company was looking for technologies in Russia that could be used in very ambitious projects in Iran's mining, oil and gas sectors, while there was little competition to Russian firms from US, European and other Western companies, which left the Iranian market amid the sanctions.
"I believe Russian companies have that kind of technology. That kind of technology is available here. So, we can take part in the consortium and start a very good relationship. I have described to some of our partners here that within next 10 years projects worth about thousand billion dollars have to be run in Iran. It is a very big opportunity for us and Russians," Moazami said.
The businessman shared his plans to come to Russia once again along with his team in order to further negotiate with potential partners, build trusting relations and ultimately sign memorandums and contracts.
PROVIDING RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHOLOGIES FOR MINING
Hoda Soleymani, the Chairman of the Board of the Noursun Energy Group, one of Iran's leading companies in energy management and renewable energies, also has big plans for cooperating with Russian businesses.
"We have come here especially for marketing and establishing solar systems for Russian companies .
.. We have already studied different areas in Russia and Ukraine, and we have found good places where solar systems in combination with mining facilities there are good for producing energy for mining processes," Soleymani said.
The businesswoman noted that her company managed to find "good partners" for cooperation in this area at the Innoprom fair in Yekaterinburg, but refused to name them at this point.
"We need to first start a branch company, maybe, in Moscow. And then through this branch company we will arrange for joint venture with Russian partners. Maybe at the beginning of 2020 we can have our first project starting to be implemented," she said.
INTRODUCING IRAN'S VISION OF INTERNET OF THINGS
Hopes for profitable partnership in the Russian market were also voiced by Hadi Ghazzaghi, the CEO of the SEDNA building management system design group. His company designs and manufactures high-tech ventilation, heating and cooling controllers and smart thermostats, which can be managed through an iOS and Android apps, cooperates with companies in China, Spain and Canada and plans to further expand to Russian and CIS markets.
"In Russia, products are normally low-tech and medium-tech. High-tech products in Russia are so expensive, so we have advantage in price, quality and technology. The mix of this can help to distribute our products to Russia ... I think if we find a good distributor in Russia, we can set and program for the CIS market also," Ghazzaghi told Sputnik.
The entrepreneur noted that his company had even found a potential distributor at the Innoprom fair, but refused to name the company not to jinx it.
"We have found a company at the Innoprom, and invited it to come here again. This morning we have had a very good meeting, set a MoU [memorandum of understanding] and we are trying to set an exclusive agency in Russia," Ghazzaghi said
The businessman also expressed the hope for having another round of negotiations in a month to discuss the details of the memorandum.
LOOKING FOR TECHNOLOGIES LOST TO SANCTIONS
Saeede Mahboobi, the CEO of the Qeshmvoltage engineering company, told Sputnik that her company was participating in the Iran-Russia B2B forum for the first time, but was looking forward to finding Russian partners.
"We want to have cooperation with a Russian company ... I think about [cooperating in the area of] power plants, programming, engineering service ... and industrial robots. And I think about training equipment, for example mechatronic equipment. I don't know any company in Russia, a brand [producing such] equipment, and we can export that equipment to Russia for a training center," Mahboobi said.
As many other Iranian businesspeople at the forum, she first attended the Innoprom-2019 fair, where she met a Russian company that showed interest in their products, in particular robots. However, the businesswoman did not only seek to secure the access for her company's products to the Russian markets, but also searched for technologies and equipment in Russia, which could help to make up for the lost access to European markets in the wake of the US sanctions.
"We can use the Russian automation system, for example PLC [programmable logic controllers] monitoring system, because our company uses Siemens system, but we are under sanctions ... If a Russian company has a good automation system, for example, PLC monitoring system, we are interested ... Why not, we will use them [Russian technologies]," Mahboobi said.
Last August, Germany's Siemens announced it was scaling down its businesses in Iran dramatically after the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran following the withdrawal from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.
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