Prime Minister Enrico Letta has hailed Iran's diplomatic overtures as "an
opportunity" that should not be missed, saying Tehran could help resolve the
conflict in Syria.
"I think it would be in everyone's interests to bet on the success of the
reforms" in Iran, Letta said Monday.
"Our view is that an opportunity is opening," the Italian premier added.
He expressed confidence that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's diplomatic
overtures can have a positive impact on the events in Syria.
Letta said that his country had "more chance than others" to improve better
relations with Iran due to historical links between Tehran and Rome.
The premier's remarks came after a visit by Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino
to Tehran this past weekend.
Heading a high-ranking political delegation, the Italian foreign minister
arrived in Tehran on an official two-day visit on Saturday.
During her stay in Tehran, Bonino held talks with senior Iranian authorities
including President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
This was the first visit by an Italian foreign minister to Tehran in nearly a
The visit came after Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the US -- plus Germany
inked an interim deal in Geneva on November 24.
The deal aimed to set the stage for the full resolution of the West's dispute
with Iran over the country's nuclear energy program.
As part of the Geneva deal, it was agreed that in exchange for limiting certain
aspects of its nuclear activities, Iran would be provided with a certain amount
of sanctions relief and no more nuclear-related sanctions would be imposed on
the country for six months.
On December 5, Paolo Scaroni, the chief executive of Italy's multinational oil
and gas company, Eni, met with Iran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in the
Austrian capital, Vienna.
"We plan to continue to be in Iran and possibly increase our activity as long as
the sanctions regime is lifted," Scaroni said following his meeting with the