Italy’s ECA, Sace, has signed collaboration agreements with three Iranian private banks – Bank Pasargad, Bank Parsian and Saman Bank.

Under the agreements, which is dependent on the reopening of payment channels in Iran, the parties aim to identify short and medium to long-term projects of mutual interest and to develop insurance and financial structures to support them.

This is to facilitate the fast and effective return of trade and investments in the country post-sanctions.

“A new era is commencing for economic relations with Iran, thanks to the important steps forward taken at the international level. Sace is ready to do its part to help Italian companies to grasp its full potential, as soon as the regulatory framework allows, and the agreements signed today go in this direction,” says Sace president Giovanni Castellaneta, former Italian ambassador to Tehran.

The ECA believes that the Iranian banks’ track record in supporting authorised imports involving SMEs “is a great added value”.

It estimates that the lifting of sanctions might boost Italian exports to Iran by almost €3bn by 2018, particularly in machinery, oil and gas and transport.

Italy has been one of the most active countries in Iran in 2015, with Sace signing a technical co-operation agreement with the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) in March, and the closing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in August between the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Sace, Mediobanca, the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Iran and Iran’s Central Bank.