By Gunay Hasanova
Tehran, after the removal of the international sanctions that have battered the Iranian economy, made Italy its top priority trying to build on long-standing Italy-Iranian ties through cooperation in various spheres.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni in a telephone conversation on November 21 evening discussed bilateral ties and regional developments, IRNA reported.
During the phone talk, Zarif and Gentiloni exchanged views on bilateral ties, regional issues and some other issues of mutual interest.
In a relevant development in mid-April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that Tehran attaches great importance to its relations with Rome, and called for the rapid implementation of the agreements recently endorsed by the two countries.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to its ties with Italy. Rome's stances during the hard times of sanctions were balanced compared with some other countries”, Rouhani told reporters in a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Tehran.
He referred to the endorsement of 36 cooperation documents by both countries during his January visit to Italy and Renzi's current visit to Iran, and said, “Implementation of these 36 documents can create a new path to develop economic relations between the two countries, especially in investment fields and importing new technologies from Italy to Iran”.
Italy was one of Iran’s leading economic and trade partners before sanctions when the trade turnover amounted to 7.5 billion Euros compared to the current $1.4 billion Euros.
During his January visit, Rouhani headed a high-ranking delegation of business leaders and ministers, signing a pipeline contract worth between $4 billion and $5 billion for oil services group Saipem.
Since the nuclear deal between Iran and Group P5+1, Italy has been trying to turn into Iran's first trade partner in Europe and in this connection several Italian ministers as well as trade and government delegations have visited Iran.
Gunay Hasanova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @gunhasanova
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