TEHRAN – Nazi Germany Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday that he had told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani he was welcome to visit Germany the next time he comes to Europe.
Speaking after meeting Rouhani in Tehran, Steinmeier said he had urged him “to keep Germany in mind as a destination on his next trip to Europe.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening during a press conference in Tehran, Steinmeier praised the Iranian nuclear deal that was implemented in mid-January, adding that both nations seek to strengthen bilateral relations.
“I am confident the [nuclear deal] made the world and region safer, and for the years to come narrowed prospects of nuclearization of the region,” Iran’s state-backed Press TV quoted the German diplomat as saying.
During Steinmeier’s second visit in three months to the Islamic Republic he met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, and he was also due to meet with Iran’s Pressident Hassan Rouhani.
In his remarks to the press, Steinmeier also indicated that the nuclear accord could help foster a political solution to halt bloodshed in the Middle East, pointedly the more than four-year-old Syrian conflict.
Steinmeier’s visit came as European companies and bank want to seize new trading opportunities after the lifting of sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran ended years of economic isolation when world powers lifted the crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic last month in return for Tehran complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.
After the lifting of international sanctions, Iran is now the biggest economy to rejoin the global trading system since the Soviet Union broke up more than two decades ago and major international companies are rushing to establish a position in Iran.
For decades before sanctions were imposed, Germany was Iran’s biggest trading partner. The gap in Iranian imports from Germany and other Western countries has largely been filled by Chinese, Korean and Middle Eastern competitors.
Germany’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) said it expected exports to Iran to double to 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in the coming years and reach twice that figure in the long term.
The International Monetary Fund expects Iran’s economy to expand 4.3 percent this year, with growth at or above 4 percent in the next two years. It also sees Iran’s imports expanding 18 percent this year, 14 percent next year and 7 percent the year after.