Iran, Italy Determined to Upgrade Relations

Iran, Italy Determined to Upgrade RelationsIran, Italy Determined to Upgrade Relations

President Hassan Rouhani said the conclusion of 36 agreements between Tehran and Rome in the past three months indicates the two sides' strong determination to enhance cooperation.

"The implementation of these deals will unlock news ways of developing economic relations, especially in the fields of investment and technology transfer from Italy to Iran," IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying in a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Tehran on Tuesday.

Praising Italy for being the leading European country in restoring ties with Iran after the July 2015 nuclear deal, Rouhani said Renzi's trip to Tehran will upgrade collaboration in the economic, scientific, technological and tourism fields, as well as closer consultations and coordination on major international developments.

Renzi said the long history of bilateral relations will serve as a solid foundation for developing wide-ranging cooperation, stressing the need for accelerated restoration of trade and economic links between the two sides.

The volume of Tehran-Rome trade was about €7 billion in 2010, making Italy the largest trading partner of Iran among European nations. But the enforcement of international sanctions on Iran made it hard for Italy to maintain the high level of economic transactions and bilateral trade fell to €1.6 billion in 2014.

However, the implementation of the historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on January 16, which resulted in the lifting of sanctions, has encouraged Italy to resurrect close partnership with Iran.

Prior to the press conference, in a meeting of high-ranking delegations of the two countries headed by their presidents, six memorandums of understanding were signed in various fields, including renewable energies, railroads, gas, airports and auto industry.

At the head of a 250-member business delegation, Renzi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day stay, aimed at boosting economic relations and removing trade barriers in the post-sanctions era.

Renzi's visit comes after Rouhani's trip to Rome late January, the first foreign visit by the Iranian president after the implementation of the nuclear pact, in which the two sides signed deals worth about €17 billion.