Tracker

Spain-Iran Foreign Relations

July 18, 2010
Flag of Spain (Available at Wikimedia Commons) 
 
Reaction to June 2009 Iranian Presidential Election:

In August, 2009, Spanish First Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega announced that Spain would take the “consensus position” of the European Union on the question the August inauguration of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The first deputy stated that Spain would consult with its EU partners before choosing to offer a message of congratulations to the Iranian president.[1]

 

Nuclear:

As a part of the European Union, Spain supports all the UN sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, but has been less willing to impose further sanctions by the EU. [2] Instead, it has supported more diplomatic engagement with the Islamic Republic and has publicly supported Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program under the protection of IAEA safeguards. [3]  In February 2009, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Austria, and Sweden have also opposed a list of additional stricter sanctions proposed by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. [4]

In May 2010, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos visited Israel to receive an honorary degree from Ben-Gurion University.[5] While he was there, Moratinos stated that the international community has sent a very clear message to Iran concerning its nuclear program.[6] He also argued that if Iran does not respond accordingly then further action would be necessary.[7]

In July 2010, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki traveled to Spain to “exchange views with European officials, expand ties, and clarify Iran’s position,” as part of a tour of southern Europe.[8] Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos called on Mottaki to return to the negotiating table over the issue of Tehran’s nuclear program.[9]

 

Economic Relationship:

Oil and gas trade account for much of the economic cooperation between Spain and Iran.[10] In September 20 2007, an Iranian member of parliament, Hossein Afarideh, told IRNA that Spanish companies were ready to cooperate with Iran to develop its civilian nuclear program and energy generation within the framework of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations; such cooperation would entail technical support and personnel training for a peaceful nuclear program. In January 2008, Figa Lopez, Spain’s Deputy Foreign Minister, referred to Tehran-Madrid cooperation as "positive", especially in economic relations. She also said that Spain’s private sector hopes to make further investment in Iran.[11] Nuclear power plants account for 20 percent of Spain's electrical needs.[12]

In May 2010, amid the Spanish energy giant Repsol’s delays in investment decisions concerning the development of various projects in the South Pars gas fields, Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi gave a two-week ultimatum to the company.[13] Mirkazemi threatened to offer the development projects to local firms if Repsol does not meet this deadline.[14] The Spanish company has been in negotiations with Iran since 2002 but has delayed affirming the investment as most of the international community, in large part motivated by Western pressure, is gearing up for new sanctions against Tehran’s for their nuclear project.[15]

[Click here for more information on Spain’s business relationship with Iran.]

 

Diplomatic/Military Relationship:

During a July 2009 telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said, referring to June post-election instability in Iran, that "Europe, without interfering in Iran's affairs, calls for Iran to manage the situation and settle the issues." Moratinos also stressed the need for further cooperation between Tehran and Madrid.[16 

In October 2009, Venezuelan First Secretary for Energy Affairs in Venezuela’s Tehran embassy, Louis Mayta, stated that “Iran and Venezuela are establishing an oil company named Beniroug which allows us to make investments and activities [sic] in other countries, including Cuba, Sudan, China and Bolivia.”[17] Spain, which helped settle problems in the registration of the Iranian-Venezuelan joint company, will host its headquarters.[18]

In November 2009, the Spanish capital of Madrid opened an Iranology center in an attempt to help students of Iran studies and Shia scholars in the country. Manager of the Iranian Cultural Attaché in Madrid, Amir Pourpezeshk, said, “in this way, the Spanish people will get a better understanding of Iran.”[19] 

 


[1] “Spain To Take EU Line On Congratulating Iranian President- Deputy Premier,” elmundo.es, August 6, 2009
[2] “IAEA Board Adopts Resolution Against Iran,” News Update on IAEA & Iran Chronology of Key Events, International Atomic Energy Agency, September 24, 2005, http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/iran_timeline2.shtml (February 3, 2009); “IAEA Board Adopts Resolution On Nuclear Safeguards In Iran,” News Update on IAEA & Iran Chronology of Key Events, International Atomic Energy Agency, February 4, 2006, http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/iran_timeline3.shtml#december06 (February 3, 2009); Afrasiabi, Kevah L., “U.S. Dilemma As Iran’s Nuclear File Re-opens,” Asia Times, February 5, 2009; “IAEA Board Adopts Resolution On Nuclear Safeguards In Iran,” News Update on IAEA & Iran Chronology of Key Events, International Atomic Energy Agency, February 4, 2006, http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/iran_timeline3.shtml#december06 (February 3, 2009); Afrasiabi, Kevah L., “U.S. Dilemma As Iran’s Nuclear File Re-opens,” Asia Times, February 5, 2009
[3] Afrasiabi, Kevah L., “U.S. Dilemma As Iran’s Nuclear File Re-opens,” Asia Times, February 5, 2009; “Iran Will Respond After Studying The Nuclear Offer,” Arabic News, June 14, 2006
[4] Dinmore, Guy, Najmeh Bozorgmehr, and Alex Barker, “EU Trio Targets Tougher Iran Sanctions,” Financial Times, February 25, 2009
[5] Yanir Yagna, “Spanish FM: Israel and Palestinians Want Peace, but Time is Running Out,” Haaretz, May 11, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/spain-fm-israel-and-palestinians-want-peace-but-time-is-running-out-1.289724 (May 11, 2010)
[6] Yanir Yagna, “Spanish FM: Israel and Palestinians Want Peace, but Time is Running Out,” Haaretz, May 11, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/spain-fm-israel-and-palestinians-want-peace-but-time-is-running-out-1.289724 (May 11, 2010)
[7] Yanir Yagna, “Spanish FM: Israel and Palestinians Want Peace, but Time is Running Out,” Haaretz, May 11, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/spain-fm-israel-and-palestinians-want-peace-but-time-is-running-out-1.289724 (May 11, 2010)
[8] “Spain Urges Iran to Return to Nuclear Talks,” AFP, July 13, 2010, http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/July/middleeast_July200.xml&section=middleeast&col= (July 18, 2010); and  “Mottaki Leaves Spain for Portugal,” Iranian Student News Agency, July 14, 2010, http://www.isna.ir/ISNA/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-1574094&Lang=E (July 18, 2010)
[9] “Spain Urges Iran to Return to Nuclear Talks,” AFP, July 13, 2010, http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/July/middleeast_July200.xml&section=middleeast&col= (July 18, 2010)
[10] “Iran’s Oil Minister Seeks Spanish Investment in Energy Sector”, Asia Pulse, July 7, 2008.
[11] “Iran, Spain Discuss Mutual Cooperation, Ties”, IRNA, January 23, 2008.
[12] “Iran, Spain To Expand Cooperation On Energy Sector”, IRNA  September 20, 2007.
[13]  Hiedeh Farmani, “Iran Gives Two Week Ultimatum to Shell, Repsol,” AFP, May 8, 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i77-FiVREcnKZgtwFbOMjTDGsZaA (May 10, 2010)
[14] Hiedeh Farmani, “Iran Gives Two Week Ultimatum to Shell, Repsol,” AFP, May 8, 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i77-FiVREcnKZgtwFbOMjTDGsZaA (May 10, 2010)
[15] Hiedeh Farmani, “Iran Gives Two Week Ultimatum to Shell, Repsol,” AFP, May 8, 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i77-FiVREcnKZgtwFbOMjTDGsZaA (May 10, 2010)
[16]  “Spain Calls For Further Cooperation With Iran,” Fars News Agency, July 1, 2009
[17] “Iran, Venezuela to Launch Joint Oil Company: Report” People’s Daily Online, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/6797976.html (October 29, 2009)
[18] “Iran, Venezuela to Launch Joint Oil Company: Report” People’s Daily Online, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/6797976.html (October 29, 2009)
[19] “Spain Opens Iranology Center in Madrid” Press TV, http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=111123&sectionid=351020105 (November 12, 2009)