Friday Dec 20, 201309:10 AM GMT
Iran welcomes Italy moves to ease sanctions: Envoy
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino at the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome on November 19, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino at the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome on November 19, 2013.
Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:9AM
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Iran says it welcomes any “positive and constructive” measure by Italy to ease the illegal sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear energy program.

“Through its constructive stances and measures, Italy can definitely play an influential role [in helping relieve anti-Iran sanctions], and we welcome any positive and constructive move by Italian officials,” Iran’s Ambassador to Rome Jahanbakhsh Mozaffari said on Friday.

“We regard Italy as a country which has taken good steps towards bolstering cooperation with Iran,” he added.

He dismissed the European Union’s sanctions against Iran as “illegal and illegitimate,” saying European countries have suffered losses as a result of the bans “because Europe has always been among Iran’s main trade partners.”

At the beginning of 2012, the EU, under pressure from the US, placed an embargo on Iranian oil and petrochemicals exports, banned the trade of precious metals as well as transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and froze its assets across the bloc. The measures came into effect as of July 1, 2012.

The sanctions also barred EU insurance firms from providing insurance and reinsurance to Iran and Iranian-owned companies. In 2011 the union had targeted over 30 holding companies of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

The Iranian envoy further pointed to Italy’s important position in Iran’s foreign policy and said Tehran and Rome are witnessing new developments in mutual relations.

“Italy is a very important country in the European Union and has a positive stance on the settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue and the Syria crisis. So, this country has an important place in foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Mozaffari stated.

He expressed hope that Iran and Italy would reach good agreements on strengthening mutual relations during the upcoming visit to Tehran by Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino.

Bonino is scheduled to pay an official visit to Iran on December 21-22 to hold "institutional meetings" with senior Iranian officials.

This will be the first time for an Italian foreign minister to visit Tehran in nearly 10 years. 

Former Italian Premier and Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema paid a visit to Tehran on Tuesday and held talks with top Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

SF/NN/HMV

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