On January 25, Iranian president Dr. Hassan Faredyoon Rouhani arrived in Rome as part of his first European trip. Rouhani was invited by his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella last year. On Wednesday, Rouhani is due to arrive in Paris on the invitation of French president Francois Hollande.
Last year, Italian, French, German, EU top government officials had visited Tehran to re-establish their old trade-links with Iran’s $400-billion annual economy.
The officials from Iran and Italy signed contracts covering health, transportation, energy and agriculture worth 17 billion euros ($18.4 billion) in presence of presidents Rouhani and Mattarella in Rome.
On Tuesday, Sheikh Rouhani paid an official visit to the Vatican and met Pope Francis, who like his predecessors, Benedict XVI, and John Paul II is considered a friend of Israel and Jews. In October 2015, Francis issued a fatwa saying that criticism of Israel and Jews is antisemitism (here and here). During the 40-minute meeting the two leaders talked about Muslim-Catholic relations and peace in the Middle East. At the conclusion of the meeting, Francis thanked Rouhani for taking time to visit him, while Rouhani asked Francis to pray for him. Rouhani gave Francis a book of reproductions by Iranian painter Mahmoud Farshchian and a precious handmade rug from city of Qum.
In Paris, Rouhani and Hollande will discuss peaceful solution to the foreign meddling in Syria, a close ally of Iran and Russia. Last year, Benjamin Netanyahu had said that he would prefer French mediation in Syrian conflict. During the same time, Iranian team is expected to sign several contracts involving purchase of 114 Airbus planes badly needed to upgrade country’s aging commercial airlines, and joint automobile assembly plants in Iran with Peugeot and Renault.
President Rouhani was scheduled to pay an official visit to Paris last month which was cancelled as result of Mossad terrorist attack in Paris.
Last year, US Senate candidate Jack Lindblad, of the Green Party of LA county council in an interview with Press TV had claimed that both Chrlie Hebdo and Jewish grocery store terrorist attacks were not work of some practicing Muslims, but instead were carried on the orders from CIA and Mossad to keep Europe under Netanyahu’s thumb.