MILAN – Iran is signing business deals across Europe as its president embarks on a tour of the region to restore contacts after years of economic sanctions and international isolation.
Companies from the oil sector to car making are jostling to take advantage of the opening of the country of nearly 80 million people. Most sanctions were dropped last week after Iran agreed with world powers on a plan to limit its nuclear capabilities.
Some business deals are ready to be inked but others are still in negotiation as a few sanctions not related to the nuclear program remain in place, particularly by the U.S., on the trade of goods that could be used for military or intelligence purposes.
"I'd say the light went from red to orange," the CEO of carmaker Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, said last week, when the sanctions were lifted. "We're waiting for it to go from orange to green."
As European companies prepare to ramp up operations in Iran, here's a look at what deals are being made and where.
The Italian government and private companies signed more than a dozen accords during Rouhani's visit to Rome on Tuesday.
The Danieli Group, a metals industry concern, signed 5.7 billion euros ($6.2 billion) in deals to supply machinery and install steel and aluminum plants in Iran.
The Saipem oil services company, controlled by the Eni energy company, entered a memorandum of understanding with the Parsian Oil and Gas Development Company to upgrade two refineries and a second one with the National Iranian Gas Company on pipeline projects covering 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles). No financial terms were released.
The Italian State Railway signed a memorandum of understanding to develop Iran's high-speed railway. It will offer technical assistance on a 400-kilometer (250-mile) high-speed line, followed by other projects.
Shipbuilder Fincantieri signed several framework agreements, including one to develop a new shipyard in the Persian Gulf, with Azim Gostaresh Hormoz Shipbuilding Industry Co. A subsidiary signed two agreements for engines.
The Gavio construction and infrastructure group signed agreements worth up to 4 billion euros for projects including railways.
Airbus jets are at the top of Iran's shopping list in France as it looks to renew its aging fleet of passenger planes.
Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhondi said this month that a deal with the European consortium to buy 114 planes has been reached. That information, including the number of planes, is expected to be confirmed Thursday, when Rouhani signs a series of contracts in the presence of French President Francois Hollande. Iran has said it is looking to buy 400 passenger planes over the next decade.
Airbus does not traditionally announce prices of contracts.
Carmakers PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Renault-Nissan are also moving to ink deals as they look to rebuild the presence in the Iranian market they had enjoyed before sanctions hit.
Analysts are also citing the possibility of deals for airport operator Aeroports de Paris to build a terminal in Tehran and for engineering firm Alstom to work on railway lines.
Siemens has already signed a memorandum of understanding to provide 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in transportation equipment and services to Iran, CEO Joe Kaeser said Tuesday. "Iran has a lot of opportunity and this won't be the last MoU... but we will not go head over heels in this market," Kaeser said.
Daimler's truck division last week announced joint ventures with Iranian partners that will enable it to restart its business there. The company foresees joint production of trucks and engines and a marketing company; it plans to reopen its representative office in the first three months of this year.
The president of the Federation of German Industries, Ulrich Grillo, has said Iran's need to modernizing its industrial infrastructure is large, and that German exports there could double in five years from 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion) a year currently.
Spain and Iran are looking into the possibility of Iran setting up a major refinery in Algeciras, one of Europe's largest ports, in southern Spain, acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said last week. The refinery would reportedly cost some 3 billion euros.
Piovano reported from London. Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal, Elaine Ganley and Angela Charlton in Paris, Danica Kirka in London, and David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, also contributed to this report.