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Rohani Says Iran 'Stable And Safe'

Iranian President Hassan Rohani (right) is welcomed by Pope Francis at the Vatican on January 26.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told business leaders in Rome that "Iran is the safest and most stable country of the entire region."

Rohani is on a four-day visit to Italy and France, the first state visit by an Iranian president to Europe in nearly two decades.

He is looking for foreign investment following the lifting of international sanctions against Iran on January 16 under its nuclear accord with world powers.

Analysts say Tehran is looking to reestablish energy and other economic ties with Europe and promote its control as a pillar of strength and stability in an increasingly fraught and fragmented region.

Rohani tweeted earlier on January 26 that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will visit Iran in the coming months to boost economic ties.

Rohani later paid a call on Pope Francis, who, in his nearly three years as pope, has stressed mediation and dialogue as the best way to resolve conflicts.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters