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Iran, Turkey Aim to Triple Trade to $30 Billion

Foreign Minister of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi (file photo - January 30, 2011)

Iran and Turkey say they are planning to triple their bilateral trade to $30 billion in the next five years.

The two sides reached the agreement at their 22nd annual joint economic meeting Sunday in Tehran.

Media reports quote Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying the agreement shows Turkey is committed to bolstering ties with Iran. He also said he believes the goal of tens of billions of dollars more in trade during the next five years is realistic.

Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz noted that trade between his country and Iran has risen from $1 billion to $10.7 billion in the past decade. Much of that comes from the shipment of natural gas from Iran to Turkey, Turkey provides construction expertise and materials to Iran.

During the economic meeting, the neighboring countries also discussed cooperation on a range of other issues, including transportation, industry and energy.

Ties between Iran and Turkey have grown in recent months with Ankara, along with Brazil, endorsing a nuclear fuel deal for Iran last May. Last October, Iran and Turkey signed agreements covering trade, agriculture, education, banking and customs regulations.

Turkey also has called for diplomacy to resolve controversy over Iran's nuclear program. It hosted the latest talks between Iran and six world powers last month.