DUBAI (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni held talks with officials in Tehran on Tuesday, the latest in a series of European officials seeking closer trade ties with Iran after its nuclear deal with world powers.
Senior government ministers from France, Germany and Serbia have been among visitors to Iran since the July 14 accord that raised the prospect of banking and trade sanctions on Iran being lifted, perhaps around the end of this year.
Investment bank Mediobanca said in a statement that it, along with Italy’s development ministry and export credit agency SACE, had signed a memorandum of understanding during the visit with Iran’s economy ministry and its central bank.
The aim of the agreement was “to facilitate future economic and commercial relations between the two countries,” the statement said.
Before his visit, Gentiloni was quoted by the Iranian Mehr news agency as saying the nuclear agreement “will serve as an opportunity for a gradual improvement in the two countries’ relations.”
Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi, who accompanied the delegation, told Iranian reporters that Italy would certainly invest in Iran’s car industry in near future.
“The number of cars produced in Iran is high and this will not be limited to Iran’s market,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
After years of being frozen out of the global banking system and most trade with the West, the nuclear accord provides for an easing of sanctions in return for restrictions and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran says it has reached a preliminary agreement with certain German banks to open branches in the country.
Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif was quoted by Press TV as saying this was agreed during a recent visit to Iran by German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
The nuclear deal has not yet been ratified by the Iranian Parliament or the National Security Council and the government hopes the European visits will show its critics what Iran could look like in the post-sanctions era.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Nouri and Philip Pullella; Editing by Tom Heneghan