CMA CGM signs landmark IRISL deal

French container line makes first move to cooperate with Iranian carrier.

France's CMA CGM has become the first western shipowner to ink a cooperation deal with Iranian national carrier IRISL.

The French government said an agreement had been signed during a visit by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on Thursday, domestic media reported.

The memorandum of understanding is designed to boost its presence in Iran, which has been courting western businesses since sanctions were lifted this month.

It focuses on sharing or chartering containerships, the joint operation of services and cooperation over terminal use.

"The gradual lifting of sanctions should greatly increase trade between Iran and the rest of the world. This agreement opens CMA CGM to new development prospects in this area", CMA CGM said in a statement.

The partnership is subject to compliance with remaining international sanctions, it added.

IRISL has previously floated the idea of cooperating with Maersk Line.