DUBAI - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has accepted an invitation to visit Rome, Italy's foreign ministry said on Wednesday, in what would be his first trip to an EU capital as he tries to mend diplomatic and economic ties with the West.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi invited Rouhani to make the trip "in the coming weeks," according to a spokesman for Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who was in Tehran on Wednesday, the latest high-level European official to visit the major oil producer which is about to exit a tough EU sanctions regime.
"Rouhani accepted the invitation and will let us know when," Gentiloni told reporters in Tehran, the spokesman said.
"In addition to political co-operation, our two countries can work together in the fields of trade, commerce and economy," Iranian state news agency IRNA reported Gentiloni saying. His spokesman confirmed the comment.
Several European ministers have visited Tehran since a nuclear deal was struck last month, hoping to benefit from the opening of a major economy with a young, well-educated population of just under 80 million and some of the world's largest energy reserves.
The nuclear deal will lead to international sanctions, which had frozen much European business investment in Iran, being lifted in the coming months.