Rouhani: Iran ready for Italian investment, technology

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Italy on Monday on the first leg of his trip to three European destinations following the implementation of a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Heading a 120-strong delegation of Iranian business leaders and ministers, Rouhani met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome.

Rouhani said that Iran is ready to boost cooperation with Italy based on mutual interests and in line with establishing peace and stability in the world.

He added that the Islamic Republic is prepared for investment and technology form Italy.

“Iran and Italy can cooperate in different fields of energy, industry, mine, agriculture, science, culture and new technologies,” the president said.

Cooperation on global crises

Referring to the implementation of the nuclear deal, he said that diplomacy is the best way for resolving crises facing the world.

He said Tehran and Rome can cooperate in the fight against terrorism, extremism and violence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Mattarella also said that Italy is determined to cement its ties with Iran.

Lost opportunities

“Italian companies are eager to cooperate with Iran. We want to make up lost opportunities the sanctions took from us through investment and active presence in Iran,” the Italian president said.

He added that the post-sanctions era will give Iran an opportunity to play a key role in the region.

“Italy like Iran believes that diplomacy is the best way for reaching a lasting peace,” Mattarella said.

While diplomacy will be high on his agenda, trade ties are likely to dominate the headlines, with Iran announcing plans to buy more than 100 European planes, mainly from Airbus, Reuters reported.

Officials in Rome said Italian companies were poised to sign deals worth up to 17 billion euros ($18.4 billion) over the next two days, including in the energy and steel sectors.

The deals will give a boost to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is struggling to revive Italy’s underperforming economy.

During his visit to Italy, he will also meet Pope Francis and local business leaders.

France visit

On Wednesday, the Iranian president will travel to Paris, where he is set to meet with his French counterpart Francois Hollande.

Europe was Iran’s largest trading partner before sanctions, with Italy and France seen as particularly close to Tehran. Both countries sent trade delegations to Iran last year in the wake of the nuclear accord laying the groundwork for tie-ups.

Among the deals being readied for Italy was a pipeline contract worth between $4 billion and $5 billion for oil services group Saipem, a source with knowledge of the matter said. Saipem was not immediately available for a comment.

In addition, Italian steel firm Danieli will sign commercial agreements worth up to $5.7 billion with Iran, a company spokesman said. These accords will include a joint venture with other international investors, to be called Persian Metallics, worth $2 billion.