Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

Iranian president targets Europe business deals

  • Iranian president Rouhani (l) with Italian PM Matteo Renzi (r) in Rome, on 26 January. (Photo: Iranian presidency)

Less than two weeks after the suspension of UN, US and EU sanctions, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is reaping the rewards during a visit to Italy and France.

Accompanied by a delegation of 120 business leaders, Rouhani will be in France on Wednesday and Thursday (27-28 January) and is expected to sign an €18.5 billion deal to buy 114 Airbus aircraft.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He will also meet French business leaders involved in carmaking, construction, infrastructure, water and waste treatment as well as in the petrol and gas sectors, and several deals could be announced.

In Italy on Monday and Tuesday, the Iranian president closed several business deals worth €17 billion. Most notably, the Saipem company signed a memorandum of understanding for gas and oil projects worth €3.5 billion.

He also signed 17 cooperation accords with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi. The agreement covers industry, mining, the health sector, banking, shipbuilding and infrastructures.

Renzi, who said that the visit was "just the beginning" in relations between Italy and Iran, announced he would travel to Iran in the coming months.

Unusual arrangements

After years of Western sanctions Iran is set to modernise its economy and industry. Europe, once Iran's main trade partner, is trying to position itself.

On 17 January the EU energy commissioner said an EU delegation would travel to Iran soon to explore possible cooperation on nuclear, oil, gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Iranian president's visit has come with some unusual arrangements. On Tuesday, antique nude statues in Rome's Capitol museum were covered to avoid shocking the delegation.

In Paris, the meeting between Rouhani and president Francois Hollande will be held between lunch and dinner, because the two leaders' offices could not agree on whether to have wine on the table or not.

Despite the political will and economic appetite, business leaders are waiting to see how the relation with Iran will evolve.

Sanctions were lifted because Iran complied with demands on its nuclear military programme. But if it stops respecting its commitments, sanctions would be imposed again.

"There is a risk," a business source told French daily Liberation. "Everyone goes [to Iran] because you have to be there. But the reverse gear is ready to be activated."

EU explores business deals in Iran

The lifting of sanctions against Iran after it complied with an international nuclear deal could open oil, gas, and industrial markets for EU companies.

EU visit to Iran designed to reassure banks

High-level EU trip designed to reassure international banks on doing business with Islamic Republic. Officials said won’t have time to meet human rights activists.

Greek PM strenghtens ties with Iran

Alexis Tsipras was the first EU leader to go to Tehran since the embargo was lifted. He said Iran had a role to play in "stabilising the region".

Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices

Following weeks of demonstrations across Europe, farmers returned to Brussels to protest over unfair competition in prices, as EU agriculture ministers met just a few metres away to discuss a response. The police used water cannon and tear gas.

Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices

Following weeks of demonstrations across Europe, farmers returned to Brussels to protest over unfair competition in prices, as EU agriculture ministers met just a few metres away to discuss a response. The police used water cannon and tear gas.

Latest News

  1. Memo from Munich — EU needs to reinvent democracy support
  2. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  3. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  4. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  5. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  6. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  7. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  8. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us