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Rouhani Hails Turn in French-Iranian Relations

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is ready to “turn the page for a new relationship” with France, as leaders of the two countries were Expected to sign trade agreements following the lifting of international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program. “We had strong signs that France wanted an agreement and with this official visit, it shows that France has the ambition for this collaboration and I as well,” he told a group of French business leaders during a forum Thursday. “I am saying it loud and clear from my side, in my name and in the name of my government that this is also our intention.” WATCH: Iranian President’s comment about bilateral relations with Paris Business deals During his time in Paris, the Iranian leader is expected to agree to a deal to buy over 100 passenger planes from European aircraft maker Airbus, to update its aging fleet. French officials also say he is expected to approve an agreement paving the way for a joint venture with French car manufacturer Peugeot Citroen and the Iranian firm Khodro. Under the deal, Peugeot, which pulled out of Iran in 2012, will modernize a Khodro factory near Tehran. The joint venture is expected to begin producing 200,000 vehicles a year starting in 2017. Agreements in health, agriculture and the environment are also expected. He was expected to meet later Thursday with French President Francois Hollande. Protests Activists greeted the Iranian leader with protests, notably over executions in Iran. In one demonstration, a woman dangled from a Paris bridge in a mock hanging, with an Iranian flag painted on her chest. Rouhani’s visit to France is the first by an Iranian president since 1999 and comes as part of a five-day trip that included a stop in Rome, where he signed and estimated $ 18 billion in deals for steel and pipelines.

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