|Nuclear deal with Iran has opened window of opportunity, Italian FM says||
TEHRAN – Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino has said that the nuclear deal reached by Iran and the six major powers has opened a “window of opportunity” and efforts should be made to keep the window open.
After intensive talks in Geneva, the foreign ministers of Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) struck an interim deal on November 24, based on which Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program and to suspend its 20 percent uranium enrichment in return for a limited easing of the sanctions imposed on the country.
According to the agreement, over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries of the 5+1 group will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the sanctions on Iran and Iran will provide the world verifiable guarantees that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
“The Geneva deal with Tehran has opened a window of opportunity and we should be careful that this window remains open,” Bonino said at an annual meeting of Italian ambassadors in Rome on Wednesday, IRNA reported.
She also said Italy believes that Iran should be involved in the efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in Syria.
She added that Italy wants to be part of the solution to the Syria crisis and that her country not only advised against war against Syria but also seriously pushed for the destruction of Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons.
Italy was the first European country which welcomed the election of Hassan Rouhani as the Iranian president, and it sent Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli to Iran in August, shortly after Rouhani’s inauguration.
In November, prior to his visit to Geneva for talks with the 5+1 group, which led to the historic nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Bonino in Rome.
The Italian foreign minister also said Rome is well aware that competition will begin among Western countries to strengthen ties with Iran if the sanctions against the country are lifted.
Bonino will travel to Iran on Saturday for a two-day visit to hold talks with Iranian officials on a range of issues. It will be the first official visit to Tehran by an Italian foreign minister in almost 10 years. In 2004, then Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini visited Iran.
Reports say the main aim of Bonino’s visit is boosting commercial ties between Iran and Italy.
Bonino had previously said, “Our cooperation with Iran was traditionally very, very good.”
Earlier this month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and Paolo Scaroni, the chief executive officer of the Italian energy company ENI, held a meeting in Vienna.
Scaroni said that the two had discussed “potential new activities of ENI in Iran” but added that this was “subject to lifting of the sanctions,” according to AFP.
Scaroni was the first Western oil executive to meet with Zanganeh publicly since the international powers struck the interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
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