President: Tehran determined to expand ties with Europe

Tehran, Jan 25, IRNA – President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran is dteremined to expand relations with the European Union.

The President made the remarks while talking to reporters prior to his departure to Italy here on Monday.

He stressed that Iran is planning to use the positive atmosphere created after implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for growth and development of the country.

He said his trip to Italy which will be followed by a visit to Paris serves this very purpose.

He said the trip is significant particularly because it is taking place in the historic juncture of post-sanctions era.

The President said he was going to sign two important documents during his four-day visit.

According to President Rouhani, long-term and mid-term roadmap of cooperation with Italy and France will be discussed during his meetings.

The documents to be signed during the visits to Italy and France will cover such areas as air transportation, renovations of Iran’s air fleet and railway network as well as auto industries, President Rohani added.

Rouhani said he is also going to meet the Pope in Vatican and hold meetings with political and economic elite in both countries.

President Rouhani left Tehran for Rome early Monday morning as the first leg of his European tour.

President Rouhani’s visit takes place at the invitation of his Italian and French counterparts.

Iran’s president travels to Europe for a four-day visit arriving first in Rome and then heads to Paris. This will be his first state visit to Europe where he is scheduled to meet with top officials from both countries.

The first stop is Italy, where Rouhani will meet with Italian president Sergio Mattarella.

Rouhani will then head to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis. It’s been more than a decade since an Iranian president has visited any European Union nation. Iranian and Italian officials say they hope this visit will help improve economic and trade ties.

Analysts expect an investment boom, with Italy reinvesting in Iran’s car industry in the near future.

In Paris, Rouhani is expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande. With sanctions lifted, Iran can now access billions of dollars in frozen assets and pursue new trade opportunities.

Several European ministers have visited Tehran this year, hoping to benefit from the opening of a major economy with a young, well-educated population of just under 80 million and some of the world’s largest energy reserves.