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Austrian trade delegation to visit Iran after nuclear deal

Source: Reuters - Wed, 4 Dec 2013 05:55 PM
Author: Reuters
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VIENNA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - A delegation of about 10 Austrian companies hoping to win post-sanctions business in Iran following its nuclear deal with world powers will visit Tehran this weekend, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday.

European companies are sizing up the potential of an end to the economic isolation of Iran, attracted by an urgent need to overhaul its creaking infrastructure, a young population of 76 million and massive oil and gas reserves.

Longtime Austrian trade ties with Iran were disrupted by sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union over suspicions Tehran has sought to develop a nuclear weapons capability. But curbs are expected to be eased for six months after Iran struck a deal with six world powers in Geneva last month to limit aspects of its disputed nuclear activity.

Although the agreement promising Iran sanctions relief does not include Iranian oil exports, Iran named seven Western oil companies on Wednesday it wants to return if international sanctions are broadly lifted.

A spokesman for the Austrian Chamber of Commerce said its vice president would go with representatives of the 10 companies on the trip to Tehran, which has had good relations for decades with neutral Austria.

The chamber did not want to name the firms but Austrian newspaper Die Presse said that rail technology firms Plasser & Theurer and AVL, high-rise engineering firm Doka, engineering consultants ILF and cable car maker Doppelmayr were among them.

Doppelmayr said it would have regional representatives at the talks organised by an Austrian trade representative in Tehran, and AVL said it was sending a delegate. The other companies named had no immediate comment.

Austrian exports to Iran fell 24 percent to 219 million euros ($298 million) last year, according to the Chamber of Commerce. Imports also fell 24 percent to 122 million euros. ($1 = 0.7360 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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