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The Iranian parliament has approved plans for launching five new free trade zones (FTZ) in the north and east of the country.

The parliament on Monday allowed the government to prepare the required conditions for developing two major FTZs in Sarakhs and Dogharoun, areas on the border with Afghanistan.

Dogharoun, the gateway for official trade between Iran and Afghanistan for more than a century, will be developed as Iran’s largest FTZ in an area of around 8,700 hectares, said reports in the local media.

Establishing the zones in the eastern province of Razavi Khorasan is expected to help local economy in the normally underdeveloped regions across the border between Iran and Afghanistan as more investment will be attracted to the FTZs due to eased restrictions governing such areas.

According to the parliament bill passed on Monday, the Iranian government will also launch three FTZs in the northern province of Mazandaran, a hub for agriculture where exports of farming products to countries to the north of Iran have increased over the past years.

The three new FTZs will be developed in port cities on the Caspian Sea, namely Amirabad, Fereydunkenar, and Noshahr, said the media reports.

Iran says foreign direct investment shrank in year ending March by 22.5 percent at $854 million.

Some of the five Iranian locations approved to become FTZs had already served as special economic zones (SEZ).

Iran’s Guardian Council, which vets legislation by the parliament, should endorse the bill passed on new FTZs before it is coming into force.

Announcing new economic and trade zones in Iran come as the country seeks to boost trade with neighboring countries in a bid to access new sources of foreign currency and offset the impacts of a series of American sanctions that have hampered its sale of oil.

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Iranian Parliament Caspian Sea Free Trade Zones Iran’s Guardian Council
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