President: Tehran welcomes expansion of ties with Italy

Tehran, Nov 13, IRNA – President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that Tehran welcomes expansion of cooperation with Italy. He said that Italy was Iran's first trade partner among European Union states for several years and the time has come to assume the position again.

He made the remarks in an interview with Italian TV network RAI News.
Referring to moderate stances of Italy toward Iran, Rouhani said that relations between Iran and EU have improved and Iran regards Italy as the most important countries for trade and economic cooperation.
President Rouhani said that Tehran-Rome improved ties are beneficial for both nations as well as other European countries.
The Italian reporter asked about removal of economic and financial sanctions and whether the sanctions would be lifted before the end of current year and the possible impacts of lifting the sanctions on the upcoming elections of the parliament and Assembly of Experts?
President answered that possibility of lifting the sanctions until the end of 2015 is very much, but there are many things to be done and both sides are working hard to.
'We are waiting for a report from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the outstanding issues of the national nuclear program. We hope the report would be presented until early December and also other works that we should do concerning renovation of Arak Heavy Water Reactor and some other issues should be worked out until the end of year.'
Issue of election is separated from nuclear issue, both of them are national issues, but competition about election is not related very much with nuclear issue, Rouhani said.
Concerning Syria and Iran's position on the issue, President said that the international community has decided to thwart the threat posed by ISIL to the international peace and security and the Islamic Republic of Iran supports collective campaign against terrorism.
He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports security and stability in Syria and repatriation of refugees.
The president said that fate of Syrian people should be determined by their own votes and foreign states should not interfere in national issues of the Syrian people, but, they should prepare the ground for free and democratic election and Iran would acknowledge whoever is elected by the Syrian people.
Concerning press freedom in Iran; President Rouhani said that one of new government goal since taking office was strengthening citizens rights, expansion of freedoms and creating more suitable atmosphere for social activities.
'I think in the past two years government had plenty of successes in this concern. Today atmosphere in universities are totally different from two years ago, even press freedom is totally different.'
The media and press are currently criticizing the government and the president, while it was not like this before, so important steps had been taken, but in number of issues the executive body can not solve problems alone, in fact it needs coordination between the Executive and Judiciary bodies and sometimes all three bodies need to coordinate on an issue.
'We hope to be able to create necessary coordination between the three branches of government on necessary cases in future.'
After nuclear deal, you congratulated Jews on the eve of their new year, but we still see slogans in Tehran streets as 'Down with US' and 'Down with Israel', which one is the real face of Iran? Italian correspondent asked.
Rouhani answered that all divine religions, including Judaism and Christianity, are respectful for us. Jews had always been living in Iran and they are represented at Majlis and they are free to perform their religious rituals.
President Rouhani said that the issue of Judaism and Jews is different from Zionist policies. These are two separate issues and that Iranians are completely opposed to massacre of Palestinians and innocent children and condemn such Zionist regime policies and protest unconditional support of the US to the Zionist regime.
So, the two issues are not contradictory, Iranians hate the Zionist regime policies, but respect Jews, their religion and their holy book.
Asked whether the US Embassy will open in Tehran or Iran's embassy in Washington? Rouhani answered that the key is in hand of Americans, if Americans change their policy toward Islamic Revolution and Iranians and apologize to Iranian people for their cruelty and decides to accord real respect for Iranian nation, in that case the situation will change.
'We have a 37-year experience, US committed many mistakes and wrongdoings against Iranian people during imposed war, which made our people angry, so if Americans decide to adopt a fair behavior toward Iranians, the situation might change completely.
President Hassan Rouhani is to visit Italy on Saturday upon invitation of his Italian counterpart.