IRAN is slowly becoming a potential sheep and cattle market for Australia.
Farm Weekly first reported on the potential of Iran last year, with Iranian company E1 Airsa looking at building massive processing facility in Qeshm.
E1 Airsa chairman Ali Shafaghee was in Australia last week trying to move the process forward but admitted it was taking time.
The Iranian company is negotiating to resume the live export of sheep and cattle to Iran through the Qeshm Free Trade Zone.
Mr Shafaghee said with Qeshm being at the mouth of the Gulf it was ideally situated as the port of Kava offered easy access in sheltered waters.
"Qeshm, being an island, is a natural biosecurity barrier and is ideally situated to take any stock that are rejected by other countries in the region, whether the rejection is for genuine health concerns or the more likely political machinations," Mr Shafaghee said.
He said while Qeshm was the biggest island in the Gulf, it was only 1.8km from the Iranian mainland and had a roll-on/roll-off ferry service that operated around the clock.
Once any cargo was landed in Qeshm it had immediate and unimpeded access to the mainland and given the excellent and extensive road network, distribution throughout the country would be fast and efficient.
"While we will build an abattoir with the capacity to process 4000 head of sheep a day, our first priority is to build a large sheep handling facility," he said.
"We have the plans drawn up for covered yards to hold in excess of 50,000 head of sheep and construction will start very soon, and will be completed in less than 12 weeks.
"We will also have facilities to take a further 50,000 head in more extensive accommodation."
Mr Shafaghee said that his company had also acquired a modern abattoir plus 200 hectares of land at a point about half way between the capital Tehran and Qeshm Island.
This land would be used to spell stock and to produce high quality feed for the animals.
"My company has sought the expertise of West Australian people who are well regarded in the all aspects of the stock industry," he said.
"I realise that the Australian government has to undertake extensive due diligence and I hope that we will get a favourable outcome from them very shortly.
"All this proposed development is in the private sector and while we may appear impatient we know that time is money and both our countries need this project as soon as possible.
"I am happy to talk to the government about any aspect of our proposal that is causing concern."
Mr Shafaghee was also in Esperance last week discussing the potential acquisition of Shark Lake abattoir.
A deal has not yet been met and it is understood that a number of abattoirs in the eastern states are also interested in a partnership with the Iranian company.
Mr Shafaghee returned to Iran on Monday night but is due back in Australia in two weeks.