Iran’s president visits Rome then Paris for first state visit

World Today

Iran’s president travels to Europe for a four-day visit arriving first in Rome and then heads to Paris. This will be his first state visit to Europe where he is scheduled to meet with top officials from both countries. CCTV America’s Elmira Jafari reports from Washington, D.C.

On the agenda for Rouhani will be seeking closer economic ties, business opportunities and restoring political relations. The first stop is Italy, where Rouhani will meet with Italian president Sergio Mattarella.

Rouhani will then head to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis. It’s been more than a decade since an Iranian president has visited any European Union nation. Iranian and Italian officials say they hope this visit will help improve economic and commercial ties. Analysts expect an investment boom-with Italy reinvesting in Iran’s car industry in the near future.

The next stop is Paris. Rouhani is expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande. With sanctions lifted, Iran can now access some $100 billion in frozen assets and pursue new trade opportunities. Italy and France were among the first countries Iran opened its doors to after the nuclear deal was signed but one analyst says economic challenges still lie ahead.

“From the European side, there is a concern that if they enter Iranian market they will be subjected to American sanctions. Because there are conflicts in the U.S.,” Trita Parsi, President of National Iranian American Council said. “Congress is very skeptical about the deal and republicans are still pushing for new sanctions and this is sending a conflicting message making Europeans concerned.”