Tehran, Rome Share Interests in Middle East

Tehran, Rome Share Interests in Middle EastTehran, Rome Share Interests in Middle East

The Italian foreign minister said Iran and Italy share interests in the fight against extremism and terrorism in the Middle East.

Paolo Gentiloni made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Saturday.

The Italian official referred to the "extensive" and "constructive" cooperation between the two countries in dealing with regional challenges and said, "We have common interests in the fight against extremism and the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and also in seeking solutions to other crises in the Middle East region," Fars news agency reported.

In response to a question about Iran-Italy anti-terror cooperation, Gentiloni said Rome is committed to cooperation agreements with its allies on the campaign against IS, adding that Italy is among the three western countries which train Iraqi forces to combat the terrorists.

Elsewhere, he touched on the deep and long-standing relations between the two states and said Italy has kept in touch with Iran over the past years through exchange of delegations in various fields.

The senior Italian diplomat expressed hope a comprehensive deal would be struck between Iran and the six major powers on Tehran’s nuclear program, adding such an agreement would prepare the ground for expansion of bilateral relations.

On the situation in Iraq, the Italian official expressed support for the current Iraqi administration and said, “We follow the policy of bringing all ethnic groups in Iraq closer together.”  

  Historical Ties   

Zarif, for his part, pointed to Gentiloni’s visit and said it was the second trip by an Italian foreign minister to Iran since the administration of President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, adding that such meetings and consultations are indicative of the “deep” and “historical” relations between Iran and Italy, Fars news agency reported.  

He expressed hope that bilateral relations would be enhanced in various areas.

The senior diplomat said the ground is prepared for promotion of mutual cooperation and the two sides have shown eagerness to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Referring to the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers in Geneva and the possibility of reaching a political understanding by the end of March, the foreign minister said, “The nuclear negotiations have reached a critical stage.”    

He went on to say that the negotiating parties held helpful discussions on technical issues in the Swiss city and significant progress was made in this relation.