The Aras Free Trade-Industrial Zone in Iran's Eastern Azerbaijan province will be a new trade point to bring Turkish and Iranian businesspeople together.
The 51,000-acre site in northwest Iran is 137 kilometers away from Tabriz, where the majority of the population are ethnic Azerbaijanis.
Iran imports a significant portion of raw materials from Turkey. But the Iranian authorities believe that commercial relations with Turkey will be unaffected by the U.S. sanctions that largely restricts trade and financial transactions with Iran.
Located near the Turkish border, the free trade zone has seen huge development works recently. It is expected to strengthen commercial cooperation between the two countries in the coming period.
Aras Free Trade Zone Managing Director Mohsen Nariman told Anadolu Agency (AA) that around 60 percent of the companies in the zone were foreign, of which 30 percent were Turkish firms.
He said that among the eight countries exempted from U.S. sanctions, Turkey stands out as the most important. "We have a long-standing commercial relationship with Turkey and it is impossible to cut these bonds," he added.
Davut Behbudi, the head of the Tabriz Planning and Administration Organization, said that the commercial relations between Turkey and Iran go deep and that the sanctions will have little effect on them. He added that both sides are subject to commercial agreements.
He stressed that Turkey and Iran could increase trade relations in local currencies and through their own banking channels.
Behzat Sadiqi, director at an asphalt production facility in the free trade zone, said a significant portion of the asphalt produced here is exported to Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has disapproved of the U.S. sanctions on Iran. Iranian government officials, meanwhile, said that Turkey has stood by them and underlined that the commercial relations between the two countries will continue unaffected by the U.S. sanctions.
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