Iran has plans to build a 500-bed hospital in its north-eastern city of Mashahad and is in discussions with China to raise finance for the project.

Speaking to Razavi Khorasan newspaper, Iranian Minister of Health Saeed Namaki told that the country has previously tapped Chinese finance.

Namaki added: “We have already used Chinese financing in building hospitals with over 500 beds across the country. We have a similar project in Mashhad, but we haven’t yet reached an agreement [with the Chinese side]. If we reach an agreement in our talks, we will disclose the details to the public.”

“We are currently in talks with the Chinese side and private companies about ways to use their help in the form of finance for the development of our health infrastructures.”

“We have made a lot of progress. We have been in talks for [funding projects in] Mashhad, Shiraz, Tabriz and two other cities, but we haven’t reached a conclusive result yet.”

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In August, around 600,000 medical tourists visited the country between the period of 21 March and 22 July, which was equal to the total number of medical visitors visiting the country during the whole of past year, reported Iran Front Page.

Speaking to Donya-ye Eqtesad in an interview, Health Tourism Promotion Association of Iran deputy head Mohammad Panahi said that medical tourism generated revenues of $1.2bn for Iran in the last year and the first four months of the current year shows a 20% to 30% increase from the last year revenues.

Iranian hospitals provide cost-effective treatments to patients from neighbouring countries. These treatments include several kinds of plastic surgery, eye surgery, orthopedic surgery and heart surgery.

Currently, 169 hospitals have the requisite permits to offer treatments to foreign patients.