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                                        Volume. 11936

Iran woos Italian investment to boost mining sector
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TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- In a new move to attract investments in Iran's industry, Iran's Deputy Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade said his country welcomes Italian investors in country's mining projects, Iran Daily reported on Saturday.
 
Iran and Italy have valuable ties for more than three decades, deputy minister Mehdi Karbasian said, adding that Iran welcomes Italian companies' cooperation in implementing its new mining projects.
 
Aluminum, steel and copper projects are some of the potential areas of cooperation, Karbasian said in a meeting with Ignazio Moncada, head of board of directors of Italian FATA SpA.
 
Karbasian, who is also the head of board of directors of Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation (IMIDRO) , said "IMIDRO intends to increase steel and aluminum production capacity by 10 million tons and 600,000 tons respectively by establishing plants in Iran's southern Hormuzgan and southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan provinces."
 
Karbasian also expressed hopes that a new era will begin in Iran-Italy ties with the further cooperation of Italian companies in Iranian projects.
 
For his part, Moncada expressed interests in enhancing cooperation with Iran in aluminum and power plant projects.
 
According to the Italian-Iranian chamber of commerce, annual trade between the two countries has grown notably since 2002, reaching its peak of 9.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.
 
However, after the European Union's decision of widening commercial sanctions against Iran, the bilateral trade in the first eleven months of 2012 was halved to 4.8 billion dollars. Italy remains Iran's top European trade partner.
 
At a meeting with the visiting Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino last December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Italy should maintain its role as a gateway for Iran to interact with Europe.
 
After an interim deal between Iran and six world powers on Iran 's nuclear activities last November, the Islamic republic has been striving to reach for international investments in its energy, auto and mining industries. The deal aims at curbing some of Iran' s nuclear activities in exchange for partial sanctions relief.

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