- Iran is talking business
- First trip to West since nuclear deal
- Rouhani will meet Italian President, Prime
Minister and the Pope.
All the pomp and ceremony of the Italian state has been rolled out to welcome the Iranian President to Rome.
This is the first stop for Hassan Rouhani on a five-day European trip which, it is hoped, will end in the signing of several major business deals.
Rouhani is expected to sign trade agreements with Italian firms worth a potential 16.6 billion euros.
He is also scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope. The situation of Christians in the Middle East is likely to be discussed, as well as human rights.
The Vatican also strongly opposes executions, which have increased in frequency since Rouhani took office.
He will also have meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Rome has traditionally had close economic ties with Tehran.
The Italian credit agency Sace has predicted Italian exports to Iran might rise by as much as three billion euros between 2015 and 2018.
Exports last year topped 1.56 billion euros.
The 120-strong delegation of politicians and businesspeople will travel on to Paris after Rome.
Rouhani is understood to want to finalise a deal to buy 114 aircraft from European planemaker Airbus.
Companies like oil giant Total and car manufacturer Peugeot are also said to be interested.
Who is Hassan Rouhani?
- Born in 1948
- Considered a political pragmatist
- Elected 2013 on a platform to reduce Iran’s
- Holds an MPhil in Law from Glasgow
What they are saying
“This is a very important visit. It is time to turn the page between our countries in different areas.” – Iranian official.
“Trust needs to be built. It is like love. It is only the proof of love that counts.” – senior French diplomat.
“A definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world” – Pope Francis
“European countries are rushing head-first to get into Tehran, but they are bargaining with human rights for short-term commercial and economic interests.” – Tahar Boumedra, former UN Human Rights official.