07 February 2011
Iran and Turkey have signed a trade pact which Tehran said could be worth up to US$ 30 billion over five years. "Iran and Turkey are two countries that complete each other," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by Turkey's Anadolu news agency as saying. Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz noted that trade between his nation and Iran has risen from US$ 1 billion to US$ 10.7 billion in the past decade. Still, he said that it could go even further, with the latest pact to ratchet down protectionist measures and promote cooperation potentially instrumental to that cause.
Meanwhile, two Americans who were arrested in Iran 18 months ago on suspicion of spying went on trial in Tehran. They both pleaded not guilty. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested on in July 2009 near Iran's border with Iraq, along with a third American, Sarah Shourd, who was released on US$ 500,000 bail in September and has returned home. The three have said they were hiking in the mountains of northern Iraq and, if they crossed the unmarked border into Iran, it was by mistake. Under Iranian law, espionage can carry the death penalty.
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