Iran’s Envoy: $10 Billion Projects Await Turkish Companies

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Iran is seeking partnerships with Turkish companies for highway, airport and railway projects worth $10 billion over the next three to five years, Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Ali Reza Bikdeli said in an interview in Ankara.

“We have many projects,” Bikdeli said late Monday. “We are ready to award these projects to internationally-proven Turkish companies.”

Turkey and Iran aim to double annual commerce to $30 billion this year as they push to lift international trade restrictions over Iran’s nuclear program. In January, they sealed a trade agreement after 10 years of negotiations that gave Iran preferred tariffs on some agricultural products and similar breaks to some Turkish industrial goods. Iran also seeks a bigger share in Turkey’s energy market.

A sharp increase in commerce between the neighboring nations would depend on Iran and world powers reaching a deal that would trade sanctions relief for curbs on Iran’s nuclear work. Nuclear talks have snagged ahead of a June 30 deadline for a deal, with Iranian and European officials accusing each other on Monday of backing away from an agreement.

Contracts to Turkish corporations would be awarded through work partnerships with Iranian companies and without bids, Bikdeli said. Ankara-based construction company Bergiz Insaat, in a joint venture with an Iranian state company, has already begun building a $1 billion highway project and an $800 million subway in northwestern Iran, he said.

Turkey’s state-run TC Ziraat Bankasi AS should also do business with Iran, Bikdeli said. Turkish lender Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS handles payments for Iranian energy transactions.

“We are working to improve trade in local currency with Turkey,” he said. “We need a mechanism to protect businesspeople against extreme foreign currency fluctuations .”