Tuesday, 15 October, 2019

Italy’s Renzi becomes first major leader to visit Iran since sanctions lifted

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in Iran on Tuesday for a two-day trip that made him the first major leader to visit since the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.

Heading a 250-member political and economic delegation, Renzi was warmly welcomed by Iranian Minister of Mine, Industries and Trade Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh, IRNA reported.

While in Iran, Renzi is scheduled to hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani and several high-ranking Iranians officials.

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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day trip (Photo Credit: Amir Hossein Bandi, Irna)

The ways for fostering economic and trade cooperation during post-sanctions era and active presence of Italian investors and companies in Iran are among the issues to be discussed during the meetings.

Italy has led the way among Western countries in re-establishing economic ties to Iran following the lifting of international sanctions.

Renzi’s trip follows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Italy and France at the end of January — a trip which resulted in a string of major trade and investment deals being signed between Tehran and the two European countries.

Contracts worth an estimated 17 billion euros (US$18 billion) were signed in Rome and Rouhani said he hoped that would represent only a start, as he pitched Iran as a safe base for investors looking to get into a regional market of 300 million consumers.

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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day trip (Photo Credit: Amir Hossein Bandi, Irna)

Iran has said it wants European help to modernize and expand its rail, road and air networks as well as seeking investment to boost its manufacturing base, notably in the automobile sector.

Italy was Iran’s largest European trade partner before the impact of sanctions caused exchanges between the two countries to collapse.

Renzi’s office said in a statement last week that he will make an official visit to Iran on April 12 and 13 in reply to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Rome in late January.

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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day trip (Photo Credit: Amir Hossein Bandi, Irna)

Renzi is not the first European leader to visit Tehran since the sanctions deal: Greek Prime Minister Tsipras went there in February.

‘The visit by Renzi and his accompanying delegation to Iran will be aimed at addressing hampered connections between Iranian and Italian banks, lifting the barriers to trade and financial ties, as well as enforcing the agreements the two countries have previously signed’ Head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Valiollah Afkhami Rad said Monday.

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