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EghtesadOnline: More than a year into the implementation of Iran’s nuclear accord and the lifting of international sanctions, the country is looking to expand its business ties with Italy after a number of breakthroughs, the head of Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce said.

“Statistics show that among countries that have established business transactions with Iran, Italy is in a better shape,” Ahmad Pourfallah also said in a talk with ISNA.

“Although we are currently unable to restore our business dealings with Italy to its previous level of €7.5 billion 10 years ago, we hope that we can improve them to €2 billion in the foreseeable future.”

On banking ties with the European Union member state, the official said the Italian banks currently doing business with their Iranian peers–with the exception of one lender–are all “third-tier banks” and issue letters of credit in small volumes, according to Financial Tribune.

Noting that a number of Iranian small- and medium-sized enterprises are now also able to use these LCs, the official noted that the country needs to reconnect with top-tier Italian banks to secure “large investments”.

Pourfallah said Italy has increased oil imports from Iran, pointing out that among all countries that have reestablished ties with Iran, “Italy is one of the few countries with which we have a positive trade balance”.

The official then confirmed that after Iran’s nuclear deal, the purchase of 20 airplanes from Italy has been finalized, a development he deemed as a milestone in business ties between the two countries. 

“On the other hand,” he said, “it seems that Italian businesses are now showing more eagerness to invest in Iran.”

Pointing to Iran’s partnership with Italian carmakers, Pourfallah said joint cooperation deals with Fiat and Iveco are “still on the table”.

“I am positive that just like we worked with Peugeot and Volkswagen, we can also work with Italian automakers,” he said.

“Most Italian products are luxury and sport goods, but in the auto sector, Fiat, Iveco and Lancia have a lot to say and currently negotiations are being held with them through various channel.”

JCPOA Iran sanctions Iran deal Iran-Italy trade