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Rohani To Become First Iranian President To Visit Europe In Decade

Iranian President Hassan Rohani

Hassan Rohani this week will become the first Iranian president to travel to Europe in a decade, state news agency IRNA reported November 9.

The presidential tour follows the announcement July 14 of a historic nuclear accord between the Islamic republic, the United States, Russia, China, and European powers.

Rohani will start out the tour in Italy November 14, and then travel to France on November 16 and 17, IRNA said.

While in Italy, Rohani will meet with Pope Francis, according to Parviz Esmaili of the president's office. Several ministers will accompany the president.

The visit comes amid a battle at home between Rohani and Iranian hard-liners who question his openness to the West.

In the latest spat, Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani reacted sharply to remarks Rohani made about the judiciary over the weekend.

Rohani had urged citizens to feel free to criticize the government, the judiciary, and the parliament, but to refrain from smears, insults, or lies.

AFP reported that Larijani was offended at Rohani's remarks, describing them as "libelous" and "an insult."

Based on reporting by AFP and IRNA