Iran, Austria Start Leap in Economic Ties

Tehran and Vienna opened a new chapter in expanding their economic and trade relations by signing over a dozen memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in different fields worth tens of millions of dollars.

Hundreds of Iranian and Austrian traders and businessmen signed contracts worth a total of 80 million Euros in the framework of 15 MOUs in Tehran's Summit Hall on Tuesday.

Chairman of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christoph Littel said that the visit of 230 businessmen from his country to Iran is quite unprecedented, and expressed the hope that the two countries' trade volume would increase five-fold in the near future.

He said that his country can cooperate with Iran in the fields of renewable energies, infrastructural development, building construction, railway, health and tourism.

Meantime, Head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce Mohsen Jalalpour pointed to the areas of cooperation that Iran has proposed to the Austrian side, and said, "We have proposed joint ventures in agriculture, new energies, water and sewage, auto industry, banking and finance, rail and road development, oil and gas.

" He referred to Austria's experience in utilizing new energies, and said, "Austria uses renewable energies for 70 percent of its energy needs.

" Earlier today, President Fischer underlined that his country's coalition government and major political parties are in consensus over the policy of all-out expansion of relations with Iran.

"The Austrian government comprises two main political coalitions both of which lay emphasis on and are very eager to create a strong economic bond with Iran," President Fischer said, addressing a joint Iran-Austria trade and economic meeting in Tehran.

He reiterated that Vienna is willing to cooperate with Iran in both political and economic fields, and said, "All of us want establishment of friendly relations between Iran and Austria; economic and political relations play complementary roles to each other, so improvement of diplomatic ties will result in boosting economic cooperation and it will in turn make the two nations get closer to each other."

President Fischer underlined that the conditions are now ripe for broadening the two countries' relations.The Austrian president, meantime, voiced his satisfaction in the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany) in Vienna on July 14.

Earlier today, President Fischer, in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, announced that Austria's bilateral trade with Iran will grow to $335 million this year.

"The volume of Tehran-Vienna trade will continue its upward trend in the coming years," Fischer said. He added that the two governments had agreed to increase political and economic cooperation, and the agreements would benefit both sides equally.

"Iran's approach towards Austria is to utilize that country's capacities for entering Europe as Iran is trying to gain a proper status for itself in Europe's energy market," a member of the Iran-Austria Parliamentary Friendship Group Esmayeel Jalili told on Monday.

He noted that Austria has a long record of political and economic activities at international level and more importantly the country is the venue of international organizations, and these two merits have provided the European state with an advantage over many others.

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