Iranian firms want to help build a controversial channel in Nicaragua
Iranian construction firms want to take part in the construction of a giant trans-oceanic canal promoted by a Chinese company in Nicaragua, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said while on an official visit to this Central American country.
Heads of private Iranian companies came with Zarif to the capital of Nicaragua to find out how they can participate in the $ 50 billion project, the minister said at a press conference, according to AFP.
Zarif made Nicaragua the second point of his Latin American tour, which began on Monday in Cuba and will include Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. delegation of investment prospects of the channel and other objects.
The controversial project involves the construction of a 276-kilometer canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and representing an alternative to the 102-year-old Panama Canal.
Scientists in Nicaragua and around the world are warning that the canal can cause significant damage to the environment, and Nicaraguans, who would have to move in connection with the construction of the canal, have come out against it.
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However, the government of Daniel Ortega insists that the channel will help many people in the country to rise out of poverty. In June 2013 Nicaragua granted Hong Kong company HKND a concession for the construction and management of the channel for a period of 50 years. The ceremony to mark the start of construction took place in December 2014, but in practice the work was postponed until the results of additional environmental studies were obtained.
The launch of the construction of a fuel terminal and shipyard at the Pacific end of the route should have happened this month, but HKND has not yet made any public statements on this matter. It is likely that there is a geopolitical element in Iran’s interest in the channel.Transmitting Zarif’s comments today, the Iranian state broadcasting service PressTV presented the channel as a threat to American influence in the region.
Both Nicaragua and Iran are antagonistic towards the United States.