Commander of the naval forces of Iran Hossein Azadi said it plans shortly to send the Iranian Navy to the shores of Italy. This was reported by several media of Iran, including Fars News and Tasnim News. Both media are called in Western media "close to the IRGC" and "semi-formal", i.e. reflects the position of Tehran. According to reports, the Iranian Admiral met with the Deputy commander of the Navy of Italy and expressed a desire for closer cooperation.
Italian military allegedly agreed. "In the near future, the fleet of warships of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be sent to Italy for a courtesy visit and cooperation", – stated in the message of the UN News center. It is noteworthy that the American magazine Newsweek wrote about it.
"We always strive for cooperation and interaction with the navies of the world powers and the military-Maritime fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran," allegedly said an Italian official. The dialogue was held on the sidelines of an international naval Symposium in India (Indian Ocean Naval Symposium). The forum was launched in 2008, its members include 23 countries, including France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Kenya and Tanzania. In turn, Italy, Russia, Germany, China and Japan is only an observer at this celebration of life.
Revelations of the Iranian media, did not attract special attention, if not one circumstance. The southern Italian city of Naples is the headquarters for the Sixth fleet of the US Navy, responsible for the Mediterranean sea. In addition, in Sicily there are also American military. Finally, significant group of the NATO allied forces also stationed in the South of Italy. Rome – a NATO member since the first day of its Foundation and a close ally of the us.
Despite this, the attitude of Italy towards the Islamic Republic has always stood out compared to other Western countries.
By the way, in 1999, two decades after the Islamic revolution that toppled the Pro-Western monarchy, Iran's President Mohammed Khatami chose Italy and, not least, the Vatican as countries for the first state visit. In January 2016, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who is a rare visitor to the European continent, also visited Italy. Rouhani arrived in Rome accompanied by a large delegation that included six Ministers and 120 representatives of the Iranian business.
During this visit, the Iranian leader met with the President and Prime Minister of Italy and also Pope Francis. In addition, Rouhani took part in a specially organized for his visit a business forum "Italy – Iran". At all the bilateral meetings of the Iranian President with the Italian side stressed the key role of Iran in the fight against terrorism and in resolving the situation in the region, also noted the importance of the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
"Even on such matters on which we most disagree, for example on human rights, we have proved that we can dialogue and discuss," – said the head of the Italian government. "We thank the EU and all who made the effort to make these negotiations successful. The fact that we are here today is one of the consequences of these negotiations and the lifting of sanctions, opening up possibilities for work in new markets", – he said.
However, the visit is not limited only to political statements. Was signed 17 agreements to seven official and 10 commercial – totaling about 17 billion euros. One of the main was the agreement between the Italian company Saipem and the Iranian National Gas Company for a total of about $ 5 billion.
A few months later Prime Minister of Italy went with a return visit to Tehran. The courtesy call ended. In September Italy was sent to the coast of the Islamic Republic warship in the composition of the anti-piracy mission. The ship docked in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas and conducted joint exercises with the Iranians.
It seems that the special relationship between ancient Rome and no less ancient Tehran rooted in Economics. At the beginning of this year, we signed another important agreement in the field of Finance: an agreement on opening credit line in the amount of 5 billion euros. Considering the current, shall we say, difficult conditions in Iran, such a document can be called a breakthrough. And at the end of 2017, the European media announced: "In 2017 Italy became the first commercial partner of Iran among the EU countries".
Thus, in the first quarter of 2017, the volume of trade between Iran and Italy amounted to 1.2 billion euros, of which 800 million euros – exports of Iran in Italy, and 400 million of Euro import to Iran from Italy. According to this information, Italy is the first trade partner of Iran among the countries – EU members. France and Germany are the second and third positions, respectively.
However, it would be naive to assume that it's all about the economy and long the dollar (in this case euros).
There is a special Iranian-Italian relations and geopolitical component, which has a religious aspect.
Historically Catholic countries with the support of the Vatican treated with a certain reverence to the Islamic Republic as one of the few modern States with a theocratic form of government. Hence the frequent meetings between the Pope and the Iranian leaders. Along with this geopolitically Catholic world competes with the Protestant world, led by the US and the UK.
The President of the United States Donald trump leads the anti-Iranian campaign, which, according to many, may result in military action against the Islamic Republic. The Catholic world is against this and in favour of economic and socio-cultural cooperation with Tehran. By the way, the very unfriendly relationship between leaders of the two Christian worlds: Pope Francis does not over-fond of the owner of the Oval office.
Italy, in turn, not just part of a larger Catholic world. As is known, in the Italian boot is the Vatican residence of the Pope.
In other words, the Islamic Republic of skillfully using the contradictions within the only supposed a single of the West not lose the opportunity to drive another wedge between the NATO countries.
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