Bulgarian PM begins 2-day Iran visit hoping to sell reactor and up investment

A Bulgarian delegation, headed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, is visiting Iran with the intention of finding a prospective buyer for a nuclear reactor and other equipment produced for the abandoned and controversial Belene Power Plant project.

In June, Bulgaria’s government said it considered the sale of the equipment to a third country, jointly with Russia. The reactor and other parts are to be received after an arbitration ruling that stipulated Bulgaria was to buy them out for EUR 0.55 billion.

Other economic issues, plus ways for improving trade and economic relations are also to be addressed, in addition to agreements signed with the aim of boosting bilateral cooperation.

The Bulgarian delegation includes Borisov, Cabinet Deputy Prime Minister, and Transport, Finance, Agriculture and Energy Ministers, plus representatives from diverse business sectors.

During his visit, Borisov is set to sit down with Iran’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, the government’s press service announced on Sunday.

He refused to elaborate in detail, saying: “We have many issues [on the agenda], but I am a bit of a  fatalist and I don’t want to talk about it in advance… When we return, we will comment on them.”

Earlier, Iran’s Ambassador to Bulgaria, Abdollah Norouzi, had announced his country’s interest in investing into the Bulgarian energy sector, including oil exports, but did not elaborate further. He has been quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying, ahead of the official visit, that talks might focus on the so-called Persian Gulf-Black Sea transport corridor as a strategic route between Iran and Europe.

Previously, at a joint economic committee that held a session in March, the two countries discussed the prospects of setting up transport corridors and turning Bulgaria into Iran’s “gateway into Europe”, but no specific agreement was reached.

 

by Martin Banov