Relaxation on sanctions 'could help build UK-Iran trade links'

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The relaxation of economic and financial sanctions on Iran could open up new commercial trade opportunities for UK businesses.

UK companies are to be given an opportunity to strengthen their commercial ties with Iran following a relaxation on trade sanctions in the region.

Iran has recently received extensive economic and financial sanctions relief after meeting its obligations under the nuclear deal agreed on July 14th 2015. This will allow the country to trade more freely than it was previously able to.

With the meeting of these requirements having been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency on January 16th, the EU has terminated its nuclear-related financial and economic sanctions, with the US having also suspended its own.

As such, the UK Export Finance (UKEF) export credit agency has reintroduced cover to support British companies seeking to compete for business in Iran, with a £50 million facility guaranteeing payments to UK professional advisory service providers advising the government of Iran among the first measures announced.

Additionally, the agency will be considering applications for direct lending to purchasers of British exports to Iran.

UKEF will also be working directly with the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran and the Iranian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance to further bolster trade links between the countries and help businesses take full advantage of this shift in the political landscape.

Lord Francis Maude, the UK's minister for trade and investment, said: "The UK government fully supports expanding our trade relationship with Iran and we would encourage UK businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that will arise from sanction relief.

"Following the reopening of the British Embassy in Tehran in August last year, UKTI now has a presence on the ground to support trade between our two countries."