Germany is prepared to invite Rouhani

May 14, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is prepared to invite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Germany in a signal of support for improved ties with the Islamic republic, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

The government is now weighing an invite, though no date has been set for a prospective visit, Bloomberg reported.

While the Foreign Ministry favors inviting Rouhani to Berlin, the government has stopped short of issuing an invitation amid opposition from members of Merkel’s bloc, who warn against sending the wrong signal to Israel, a German ally.

European nations are flocking to invest in Iran after last year’s global nuclear accord led to a lifting of sanctions on trade and finance in return for the country scaling back its nuclear program.

Rouhani skirted the German capital in a tour of Europe in January, when he visited Paris and Rome, announcing deals with companies including Airbus Group SE and carmaker PSA Group. Rouhani unexpectedly canceled a state visit to Austria at the end of March, citing security reasons. German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who heads Merkel’s Social Democratic Party coalition partner, sent his deputy to Tehran earlier this month.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a fellow Social Democrat, raised the possibility of a Rouhani visit to Europe’s biggest economy when he met with the Iranian president in Tehran in February.

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