American sanctions have dared Igor Chaika and Oleg Mitvol from Iran

Their company refused to build a desalination station for sea water in the Islamic Republic.
The Russian-Middle East export center of Igor Chaika and Oleg Mitvol refused to build a desalination station in Iran, the cost of which was estimated at $ 180 million. Sanctions against Iran complicated the delivery of necessary equipment, which made the project impossible for businessmen. Plans could also prevent the rise in the cost of construction from 2016.

LLC "Russian-Middle East Export Center" (RBEC) refused to build a desalination plant in Iran, said the former co-owner of the company Oleg Mitvol. As follows from the data of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, in April 2018 he left the number of founders of RBEC, in which he held 50%. The withdrawal from the company's capital is connected with the rejection of the project, Mr. Mitvol explained. The only founder of RBSEC was the son of Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri Chaika Igor, his comment was not received on Tuesday.

RBEC was established in the summer of 2016, the company planned the construction of a desalination station in Iran from two lines - for drinking and technical water. The approximate capacity of the enterprise was to be at the level of 200 thousand cubic meters per day. The company planned to complete the construction of the desalination plant in the first quarter of 2018. Part of the drinking water was to be supplied to the Iranian state institutions, and technical water was planned to be used, including in agriculture. The possible amount of investment in the construction of the RBEC station was estimated at $ 110-180 million.

In early 2016, the US began to partially remove sanctions from Iran related to the country's nuclear program. The RBEC was supposed to be able to import the necessary technologies into the country, but it was not possible to conclude the contracts with the equipment manufacturers, Mr. Mitvol said. Negotiations were conducted, in particular, with companies from South Korea, he clarifies.

Professor Sergei Druzhilovsky, professor at the Department of Oriental Studies at MGIMO, points out that the sanctions against Iran were actually weakened, only in theory, in practice, no major projects involving foreign companies, including Russian ones, were launched in the country. According to him, the business is not ready to participate in projects in Iran because of the risk of violating some restrictions and being subjected to sanctions by the US itself. Many companies do not want to spoil relations with the authorities of Western countries and are waiting whether there will be a new round of sanctions against Iran, political analyst-orientalist Vladimir Sotnikov agrees. "With the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, the situation is in limbo. Everyone is waiting for a final decision on the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (CFA) adopted in 2015, which provides for the lifting of sanctions related to the Iranian nuclear program, "says Mr. Druzhilovsky. On Tuesday, May 8, Mr. Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from the SVPD and would restore all suspended sanctions against Iran.

Lack of drinking water is one of the most serious problems for Iran. In a year here falls less than 250 mm of precipitation, the republic is among the twenty countries with the driest climate in the world.

This explains the interest in the RBEC project. In addition to the company Igor Chaika and Oleg Mitvol, the construction of a desalination station in Iran with the capacity of 200 thousand cubic meters per day was planned by the daughter structure of Rosteha, Tekhnopromexport. On Tuesday, the corporation did not answer questions from Kommersant on the status of the project.

The presence of restrictive sanctions on the part of the United States against Iran can not be the only reason for refusing to build a desalination plant, says Dmitri Zharsky, director of the Veta expert group. In his opinion, the impossibility of supplying the necessary equipment could be bypassed by the purchase of technologies in the secondary market with subsequent modernization. In the case of RBEC, arguments in favor of abandoning the project could become a rise in the cost of construction and the emergence of high competition from other market participants, the expert believes. So, he notes, the desalination of water in Iran is already being handled by companies from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe.