Rouhani begins European diplomatic tour for economic integration and cooperation

Iranian President visit to include Italy and Rome; Rouhani: Lack of growth creates forces for terrorism. Unemployment creates soldiers for terrorists.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at WEF (AP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (AP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began his diplomatic tour in Europe where he will visit officials in both Italy and France, his tour focused on restoring economic relations and integration of the Iranian economy into the European market following over 12 years of economic sanctions.

 

Rouhani arrived in Rome Monday, the first visit by an Iranian official to Europe in over a decade. He met with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella. According to reports, there is over $18.4 billion in future cooperation and business between Iran and Italy.

 

Rouhani stated that “We began our trip in Italy because we have an ancient friendship with you. Italy was at one point our top commercial partner and the Iranian people have great memories of working with your business community, with your industrial economy: they always kept their commitments, they worked well, and we are sure there will be good co-operation between our two countries again.”

 

Rouhani announced that Iran is “ready to welcome investment, welcome technology and create a new export market,” stating intentions “under the new conditions, we want to export 30% of what we produce in Iran.”

 

Rouhani claimed that economic cooperation leading to jobs for Iranians would combat terror, stating “If we want to combat extremism in the world, if we want to fight terror, one of the roads before us is providing growth and jobs. Lack of growth creates forces for terrorism. Unemployment creates soldiers for terrorists.”

 

Rouhani will address Italy’s Confindustria business lobby group later Tuesday followed by a meeting scheduled with Pope Francis.

 

Rouhani will travel next to France, where he will meet with French President Francois Hollande and hold meeting with French officials on economic integration.