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Iran says economic growth crucial to defeating extremism in the Middle East

Thursday, January 28th 2016 - 06:19 UTC
Full article 4 comments
Underscoring the growing warmth, Rouhani said he expected Italian PM Matteo Renzi to visit Iran in the coming months to help boost bilateral economic alliances. (Pic AFP) Underscoring the growing warmth, Rouhani said he expected Italian PM Matteo Renzi to visit Iran in the coming months to help boost bilateral economic alliances. (Pic AFP)
In a private meeting with Pope Francis, the pontiff asked Rouhani to help fight the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking, and to promote peace In a private meeting with Pope Francis, the pontiff asked Rouhani to help fight the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking, and to promote peace

Generating economic growth in the Middle East is crucial to defeating extremism, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said putting forward his country as a regional trade hub and pillar of stability. Rouhani is on a four-day trip to Italy and France, looking to rebuild Iranian relations with the West some two weeks after financial sanctions on Tehran were rolled back following the implementation of its nuclear deal with world powers.

 Italy announced some 17 billion Euros of business deals with Iran on Monday. Mega contracts are also in the offing in France, reflecting EU countries' keenness to cash in on the diplomatic thaw with the Islamic Republic.

Underscoring the growing warmth, Rouhani said he expected Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to visit Iran in the coming months to help boost bilateral economic alliances.

“We are ready to welcome investment, welcome technology and create a new export market,” Rouhani told a business forum on the second day of his visit to Rome, saying Iran had ambitions to develop its own economy after years of curbs and hardship.

“Under the new conditions, we want to export 30% of what we produce in Iran,” he said, calling for rapid investment in “the most secure and stable country in the region.”

Italy has rolled out the red carpet to Rouhani and his 120-strong delegation of business leaders and government ministers, seeing Shi'ite Muslim Tehran as a possible partner in the battle against the Sunni Muslim jihadist group Islamic State.

“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 said.

Later, during a 40-minute private meeting in Pope Francis's private study, the pontiff asked Rouhani to help fight the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking, and to promote peace, according to a Vatican statement.

Many Western nations accuse Iran of funding various militant groups that are on US and EU terror blacklists. Despite Iran's deal with world powers to curb its disputed nuclear program, the United States is keeping some of its financial sanctions in place because of its links to organizations such as Hezbollah.

Among the deals signed on Monday were a 4 billion Eruos contract for oil services group Saipem, up to 5.7 billion euros in contracts for steel firm Danieli, up to 4 billion euros of business for infrastructure firm Condotte d'Acqua, 4 billion euros for rail and road company Gavio and 400 million euros for planes from Finmeccanica.

Industry Minister Federica Guidi told la Repubblica newspaper that the total value of the contracts could exceed the 17 billion euros initially indicated by the government. Two large Italian business delegations went to Tehran soon after the nuclear deal was inked last year. Another such group is scheduled to visit Iran from Feb. 8 to 10.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • ChrisR

    What IS crucial to defeating Islam is a copious amount of daisy cutters dropped on the known hideouts of ISIL wherever that may be.

    Bomb them, burn them and shoot the bastards, men, women and children. Let them all be martyrs, it's what they all want anyway.

    Jan 28th, 2016 - 01:58 pm 0
  • Briton

    extremism,
    it was a bit extreme of Iran to refuse talks in France,
    apparently the French refuse to remove the wine,
    so they say..

    Jan 28th, 2016 - 09:23 pm 0
  • Enrique Massot

    Tentative steps towards peace and economic growth should be applauded--social improvement should be the next logical step for Iran.

    #1 ChrisR
    “Bomb them, burn them...men, women and children.”
    Wow. You find extremists in unlikely places.

    Interesting. Thoughts about the famous Argentina-Iran memorandum of understanding crafted by the CFK government come to mind. In light of the more recent developments, the now defunct MOU would appear as a precedent to the current detente.
    I am sure historians will note CFK's government's foresight in daring to conduct civilized negotiations with Iran prior to the U.S. and Europe.

    Jan 31st, 2016 - 04:24 pm 0
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