Iran President Hassan Rowhani said he was looking to shore up economic ties with European Union countries, as he started Monday a four-day trip to Italy and France that will also include a stop at the Vatican.
Rowhani's travels are taking place following this month's lifting of EU and US sanctions on Tehran, in return for Iran's agreement with six major world powers in July to significantly scale down its nuclear programme.
"After the nuclear agreement we want to elaborate on a middle- and long-term road map for our relationship with the EU and especially with Italy and France," Rowhani said, before leaving for Rome with a large economic delegation.
"I will be in Rome and Paris to speak about and possibly come to concrete results on different economic projects, like car manufacturing and the modernization of our civil aviation," he said.
In Rome, Rowhani is due to meet President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday, and take part in an Italy-Iran business forum on Tuesday, when he is also scheduled to be granted an audience by Pope Francis.
The Iranian president is slated to travel on to Paris on Wednesday and return home a day later.
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