Renzi makes landmark trip to Iran

Hassan Rouhani with Matteo Renzi

 ROME -- Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has had an important trip to Iran, during which the two countries have agreed to step up cooperation, both politically and economically.  Through his sojourn, Renzi has become the first Western leader to visit the country since the lifting of their sanctions after complying with a nuclear program roll back in January.

 Renzi has commented that “there is a need for an even stronger relationship” and “the lifting of sanctions is a historic step.”  Meanwhile Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has praised Italy as “an old and treasured friend,” even going so far as to say that “Rome is on the way to becoming our lead partner in Europe.”

 Renzi was keen to emphasise the importance of Iran, especially due to its location surrounded by warzones, such as Syria, Yemen and Libya, when speaking at the business forum in Tehran: “From Italy to the EU, there’s a deep conviction that the role of Iran, after the nuclear agreement, is geopolitically strategic for the region and even beyond.  If we implement the political agreement on nuclear then we are in a condition to give a message of stability to the entire area.”

 “I announce that follow up meetings will take place in Tehran with the Minister of Economy Pier Carlo Padoan, as the priority here is the financial issue.  There is a motorway of opportunity to work together as long as the credit does its part.”

 “The possible projects there are here, must be implemented not solely in the infrastructure and the energy sector but also in the agriculture and food industry.  We are world leaders in pasta.  Pasta that isn’t Italian isn’t pasta, they tell you it is but it’s not,” continued Renzi, urging for economic investment. “Many Italian companies will play a crucial role in the revival of Iran’s economy.”

 Before leaving Iran on Wednesday, Renzi wrote a post of Facebook telling us of “the wonderful news op the approval of the constitutional reforms does not take away from our international commitments.”  Later, he emphasises the importance of Iran in the area saying, “This country, the descendent of the great Persian civilisation, can play a decisive role for peace in the region and in combatting terrorism and extremism.  I believe that the agreement to avoid nuclear proliferation is the start of a new season of great interest to the entire world.”