Iran has invited Turkey to jointly produce a car and cooperate in the development of Iran’s space programme. Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro plans to open a joint production plant for its “D8” model with Turkish auto manufacturer Tofas. A delegation from Tofas is scheduled to leave for Teheran shortly to close the deal, and production is expected to start in two to three years. The car, D8, is the namesake of an economic cooperation organization made up of Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria. The “D8” countries will be the car’s principal market. The news comes as Iran has also invited Turkey to take part in its space programme, which aims to have man in space by 2017. Iran’s space program is in its infancy, and to date has only test launched a satellite rocket. Turkey has not formally replied to the offer. But while trade between Turkey and Iran has risen from $1.2 billion in 2002 to $10 billion in 2010, analysts said the new car deal was less a sign of warming relations than sign of bad times for Iran’s fledging car industry. Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is seeking closer commercial ties with Iran and aims to triple trade volumes in the next five years. He said he can’t see any reason why Turkey can’t establish an “unimpeded trade mechanism with Iran similar to the one with Europe.” Erdogan, addressing a Turkish-Iranian business forum in Istanbul September 16, said his country is planning to buy more natural gas from Iran to supply industrial zones and homes.