DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, said on Thursday it is talking to Iranian authorities about starting port operations in the country.

The company is interested in Iranian port operations on the Caspian Sea and in the Gulf, Chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.

“Iran has a great land bridge of rail that will connect the Silk Road … and we figure with our ports in the Gulf we need to go through Iran,” he said.

Two out of DP World’s three ports in the UAE, including flagship Jebel Ali, are in the Gulf and it has port operations on the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.

The port operator is just one of many multinational firms that have expressed interest in investing in Iran once sanctions are lifted.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations, plus Germany, reached an agreement in July to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curtailing of the country’s nuclear programme.

Bin Sulayem said he visited Iran two weeks before the agreement was reached.

“We are very interested in the Iranian market and we believe it has great potential,” he said.

DP World is also in talks with the Senegalese government about the location of a free zone in the country, Bin Sulayem said.

“As soon as they (Senegalese government) decide where they are putting the free zone it is natural for us to start,” he said.

In 2014, Bin Sulayem said DP World was interested in building the free zone near the new airport, about 70 kilometres from the capital Dakar.

Bin Sulayem also said on Thursday a legal case brought against DP World by the government of Djibouti is ongoing.

“Nothing has changed. We are still managing the port,” he said.

Bin Sulayem spoke to reporters after the company earlier reported a $405 million (Dh1.49 million) profit for the six months to June 30, 2015, a 21.9 per cent increase.