In the same way, perhaps, that a sleepy English village might welcome careful drivers, the Iranians have announced that they welcome Italian investors interested in the country's mining projects.

Mehdi Karbasian, Iran's Deputy Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade, is reported by the Iran Daily as saying that the two countries have enjoyed 'valuable ties for more than three decades and could do with the Italians' help on implementing new mining projects.

Steel, aluminium and copper projects are on Iran's agenda as potential areas of co-operation, Karbasian told Ignazio Moncada, head of the board of directors of FATA Spa, a leading manufacturer of process technology.

With relations between Iran and the West thawing, Iran has certainly been 'out there' promoting itself on the conference circuit. Last year, at Metal Bulletin's Aluminium Conference in Geneva, The Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation's (IMIDRO) Panthea Geramishoar highlighted Iran's abundance of cheap energy and its easy access to 300 million people in the Caspian, Persian Gulf and Far East markets.

Housing demand in Iran by 2015 is likely to reach 1.2 million, having experienced a growth rate of 12% between 2008 and 2013, according to Geramishoar. By 2025, demand for passenger cars is estimated to be 2.3 million with car production experiencing a 20% growth rate between 2003 and 2011.

Karbasian, in addition to his political role, is head of IMIDRO and claims that the organisation intends to increase steel and aluminium production capacity by 10Mt and 600kt respectively with plants in Hormuzgan in the south and Sistan-Baluchestan in the south east.

From FATA's perspective, Moncada would like to enhance co-operation with Iran in terms of aluminium and power projects.

Trade between Iran and Italy has grown considerably since 2002, according to the Italian-Iranian Chamber of Commerce. In 2011 it reached $9.7 billion, making Italy Iran's biggest European trade partner even if EU sanctions halved this figure to $4.8 billion.

The less hardline Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, wants Italy to maintain its role as Iran's 'gateway' for European interaction and now that an interim deal has been struck between Iran and six world powers, things are moving along at a steady pace as Iran looks for energy, automotive and mining investment.