Iranian president Rouhani begins 4-day European visit

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Rome on the first European visit by an Iranian president in almost two decades, following implementation of a landmark deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear activities, the Associated Press reports.

Rouhani, eager for foreign investment after the lifting of international sanctions, started the four-day trip to France and Italy on Monday. The trip was originally planned for November but postponed by the attacks in Paris.

He met first with Italian President Sergio Matterella, and is scheduled to meet later with the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Pope Francis at the Vatican. In France, he is to be welcomed by French President Francois Hollande.

In Rome, Mr Rouhani is expected to sign agreements with Italian firms worth some $18bn, according to the BBC.

On his second stop in France, he will sign a major plane deal with Airbus.

The Iranian president is leading a 120-member delegation that includes government ministers and businessmen for the five days of meetings in Rome and Paris.

“This is a very important visit,” a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

“It’s time to turn the page and open the door to co-operation between our countries in different areas,” the official added.

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