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Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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Iran, Italy conclude $2 billion deals

TEHRAN, Iran, March 12 (UPI) -- An Iranian official says his country has signed economic agreements worth $2 billion with Italy during a visit by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to Rome this week.

Minister of Mines and Metals Eshaq Jahangiri, who is also the head of the Iran-Italy Joint Committee, said today) initial accords were reached to execute numerous economic projects by Italy in Iran.

Jahangiri was quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency as saying the Italian firm Ansaldo will handle the development of Bandar Abbas power plant, including the supply of 30 gas turbines, at a cost of $1 billion.

The projects also included the construction of a steel plant at $250 million, according to the minister.

Jahangiri said the two countries agreed that Italy's national carrier, Alitalia, starts two flights a week to Tehran ``in exchange for allowing 2,500 Iranian trucks carrying goods into Italy.''

The accords were concluded during Khatami's three-day visit to Italy, the first by an Iranian president to a Western country since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The visit reflected Khatami's eagerness to end Iran's international isolation and its new openness toward the West.

He concluded his talks with a meeting with some 80 of Italy's prominent businessmen and industrialits who were assured that the Persian state is welcoming foreign and especially Italian investments and were promised financial and administrative facilities.


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