February 9, 2016 / 5:21 PM / 4 years ago

Italy's state train company to help Iran develop rail system

ROME, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Italy’s state railway company, Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), signed an agreement with its Iranian counterpart on Tuesday to develop Iran’s rail system, Ferrovie said.

Foreign firms are keen to exploit opportunities in Iran after the country emerged from years of economic isolation last month when nuclear-related sanctions were lifted.

Ferrovie Chief Executive Renato Mazzoncini signed the agreement with Iranian Deputy Transport Minister and railway chief Mohsen Pour Sayed Aghaei during the third mission of Italian businesses to Tehran in recent months.

The deal includes up to 5 billion euros ($5.65 billion) in export credits from Italy for Iran’s RAI railway company, a statement from Ferrovie said.

“The FS group will supply assistance to the Iranian railways .. for both high-speed and conventional rail lines, including a complete programme for training personnel,” it said.

It said FS will be on the “frontline” for the planning and construction of high-speed rail links between the Iranian cities of Tehran and Hamadan, and between Arak and Qom.

Iran is seeking to expand its rail network to 25,000 km (15,500 miles) from 10,000 currently, with 7,500 km already under construction, the statement said.

Last month, Italy rolled out the red carpet for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a bid to rebuild commercial ties following the end of sanctions. ($1 = 0.8843 euros) (Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Susanna Twidale)

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