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Cablegate: Prt Babil: Awkward Iranian Attendance at Babil

VZCZCXRO9983
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGB #0214/01 0280450
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280450Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6327
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000214

SBU
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EIND PGOV EINV IR IZ
SUBJECT: PRT BABIL: AWKWARD IRANIAN ATTENDANCE AT BABIL
TOURISM EXPO FOSTERS LOCAL ILL WILL

REF: BAGHDAD 213

1. (U) This is a Babil PRT reporting cable.

2. (SBU) Summary: Fifteen Iranian companies sent
representatives to a December 8-11, 2009, tourism conference
in Babil Province at the invitation of Babil Province Second
Deputy Governor Sadiq Rasool al-Mihanna (INA/Jaafari Trend )
National Reform). Although the companies met with business
and government leaders, including Babil Governor al-Zarqani
(independent) and Investment Commission Chair Harba
(independent), PRTOffs observed that the Iranians were
isolated from the main part of the expo. In addition, the
Governorate reneged on an earlier promise to cover the
Iranians, expenses, leaving the conference organizer in the
red. Although Iranian companies are natural investment
partners in south-central Iraq, they are viewed with
suspicion by many in Hillah. End Summary.
3. (SBU) Reftel, 15 Iranian companies sent 26
representatives to the December 8-11, 2009, Babil Tourism
Expo in Al Hillah, Iraq. The companies represented interests
in construction, electricity, trade, and tourism and
hospitality. One company (Al-Ghadir Group) has a
pre-existing partnership with the Hillah-based Al-Hakkak
company to build a brick factory. The Alicon Group billed
itself as an Iranian-UAE-UK joint venture. Conference
organizer Salah Bahaya and other local business leaders told
the PRT that several Iranian companies had made previous
trips to Babil Province in search of investment and business
opportunities.
4. (SBU) The Iranian companies were isolated in a separate
room away from the main exhibition hall. Bahaya told PRTOffs
the Iranian representatives met with Iraqi construction,
trade, and infrastructure firms. The Babil Investment
Commission's (BIC) website also reported the meetings. The
Iranians also met with Babil Governor al-Zarqani, BIC chair
Harba (independent), PC Chair Toman (Sadrist Trend)
representatives from the Hillah-based textile manufacturing
para-statal, the state-owned automobile manufacturing plant
near Iskandariyah, and from unspecified government
departments. Bahaya opined that the Iranians did not appear
to accomplish much during these meetings ) &a lot of
talking without any concrete results.8
5. (SBU) According to Bahaya, Babil Province Second Deputy
Governor Sadiq Rasool al-Mihanna invited the Iranian firms to
attend the conference. The invitations were discussed during
a November 2009 meeting at the BIC, which Bayaha said he
attended along with Mihanna, Harba, Deputy PC Chair Sabah
Allawi (Ayad Allawi,s Iraqi National Movement), Sayed
Mohamed Ali Hussein Hakkak (owner of the al-Hakkak company in
para. 3), and several Babil PC members including Dr. Amira
Beklii (INA/Jaafari Trend ) National Reform). Bahaya said
he argued against inviting the Iranians. According to
Bahaya, Mihanna sent emails to government departments
advising them that Iranian companies would be at the
conference looking for investment opportunities.
6. (SBU) Bahaya told PRTOffs that at the November meeting,
the Governorate agreed to cover the Iranians, expenses but
later reneged on that arrangement, sticking Bahaya with a
bill of some ID 12,000,000 (approximately USD $10,400).
Conference fees offset some costs, but Bahaya does not expect
the Governorate to reimburse him.
7. (SBU) The PRT supported the Expo, which was a combination
trade fair, tourism conference, and investment promotion
meeting, with a $25,000 QRF grant; exhibitors and sponsors
contributed an additional $35,000. The PRT was not informed
prior to the event that the provincial government would
Qprior to the event that the provincial government would
compel Bahaya to invite the Iranian companies. USG funds
expended by the PRT provided only incidental support for the
conference, in the form of general expenditures such as lunch
and facility rental fees that were for the benefit of all
attendees.
8. (SBU) Comment: Despite the fact that Iranian companies
are natural investment partners in south-central Iraq, the
PRT's conversations with local business and political leaders
over the last few years indicate that many in Hillah view
them with suspicion. PRT interlocutors have characterized
Iranian companies as Trojan horses for extremism, terrorism,
and external control over Iraqi resources. The fact that the
event's organizers were stuck with the Iranian's sizable bill
also did not sit well. Although the Babil provincial
officials felt motivated to invite Iranian companies to the
Expo, it is noteworthy that the Iranian companies reportedly
did not conclude any new agreements with local firms. End
Comment.
9. (U) The 15 Iranian companies and their 26 representatives
who attended the conference.
-- Al-Ghadir Group: Investment (Sayed Mohamed Ali Hussein
Al- Hakkak, Ibrahim Arab Zadeh Jemali, Ali Mohamed Bed, Sayed
Murtadah Shrafet, and Hamid Falah Herwa)

BAGHDAD 00000214 002 OF 002


-- Alicon Group: British company for prefabricated buildings
and Rad Iran financial institution (Ghala Muhsin Rad Sreshet
and Iyrej Makoni Poor)
-- Bars Bomis Company: Roads and bridge construction
(Jehangir Adalt Nam, Esfandiar Rahim Zadeh Asal Askony,
Mahmood Ghafari, and Hamid Abasi Shkohi)
-- Behmen Company: Refrigeration and air cooler industry (no
representative listed)
-- Berdo Company: waste water treatment plants and
construction (Muhsen Fawzi)
-- Betro Mustakbel Al-Alem: Housing construction and
international consultations (Ali Aymani)
-- Kalalah Company: Aluminum sulfate and sulfuric acid
industry (no representative listed)
-- Kreman Tablow Company: Transmission and distribution of
electrical power (Sahba Khuld Brin)
-- Nima Sehend Company: Manufacturing machinery and equipment
for brick and cement factories (Behmen Ayzadi Zeman Abadi,
Ali Ayzadi Zeman Abadi, and Fayroz Jehan Bakhsh)
-- Quds Nero Company: Power plants (Shahram Kamali Sraji)
-- Sa,adeh Sbiz Jenob Company: Water meters (Rahim Taymorya
and Hussein Haji Por)
-- Sanair Company: Power plants, water purification, sewage,
oil and gas (Nasim Khti, Mohamed Ja,fary Fer- Weza Dard, and
Arman Muhakken)
-- Sanay, Bend Company (no representative listed)
-- Sanay, Roshna,I Arm Company: Electrical industry and
lighting equipment (Mohamed Hadi Por Ashki)
-- Saniro Company: Power plants (Salih Khmashji)
-- No affiliation given: Mustafa Ikbal-Kether Nameh Ndard
HILL

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