Iranian president starts European tour with visit to Italy

Iranian President Rouhani visits Italy to boost economic ties after lifting of sanctions related to nuclear deal with world powers

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (R) listens to his Italian counterpart President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome, Italy on January 25, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Italy on Monday, as he started his first European tour since the sanctions on the nuclear deal have been lifted against Iran.

During his visit to Italy, he will aim to improve economic relations with Italy.

The five-day trip comes a week after Tehran's deal with world powers came into force, allowing the United States and the European Union to lift economic sanctions in response to Tehran curbing its nuclear actions.

Rouhani has called the agreement a "new chapter" for Iran, as its economy comes back into the global market.

Following a working lunch with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Rouhani will meet Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Trade between Iran and Italy has sharply decreased from 7 billion euros (around $7.6 billion) to 1.2 billion euros since 2012.

Fifty-eight percent of Italy's exports to Iran are related the mechanics sector, following chemical products at eight percent.

Nearly 500 Italian entrepreneurs are expected to join Rouhani during his speech at an economic forum on Tuesday morning.

Rouhani will also visit France later this week, although his initial visit was scheduled for last November, but postponed after the Paris attacks.

Tehran announced on Sunday that it will buy 114 Airbus planes to resuscitate its flag carrier’s, Iran Air, ageing fleet.

Meanwhile, for the first time Rouhani will officially meet Pope Francis at the Vatican since Mohammad Khatami visited the country in 1999.

The Pope has urged Rouhani to put pressure on the Syrian regime and to call improved relations with Saudi Arabia.

TRTWorld and agencies