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Italian PM Renzi to visit Iran in April

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) talks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the Campidoglio palace in Rome, Jan. 25, 2016. ©Xinhua

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says he will visit Tehran in April after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Rome last month.

Renzi made the announcement at a new conference in Rome on Monday. Iran and Italy signed deals worth up to 17 billion euros ($18.42 billion) during Rouhani's 48-hour stay in Italy.

The premier said then that business agreements Italy signed with Iran were "just the beginning" for the two countries.

Rouhani headed a 120-strong delegation of business leaders and ministers, signing a pipeline contract worth between $4 billion and $5 billion for oil services group Saipem.

Italian steel firm Danieli signed up to 5.7 billion euros in contracts while business for infrastructure firm Condotte d'Acqua inked up to 4 billion euros.

The two countries further signed an agreement to expand and modernize Iran’s rail network.

The agreement, signed during Italy's Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Graziano Delrio’s visit to Tehran earlier this month, envisages developing high-speed rail links.

As part of the agreement, Italy's state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) will provide Iran's RAI railway company with 5 billion euros ($5.65 billion) in export credits.

Italy was one of Iran’s leading economic and trade partners before sanctions when annual exchanges amounted to 7 billion euros compared with $1.6 billion euros now.

Italian Deputy Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda led a large trade delegation to Tehran in November, representing 178 companies, 20 business associations and 12 banking groups.

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