According to New Yorker newspaper, the Islamic Republic of Iran is back in business in a mere ten days.
On Saturday, the Islamic Republic welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping — along with a delegation of three deputy premiers, six cabinet ministers, and a planeload of business executives — with much pomp and publicity.
The two countries announced plans to resurrect the ancient Silk Road that once defined trade across Asia, this time with high-speed trains.
They also agreed to increase trade to six hundred billion dollars over the next decade. Xi, on his first trip to the Middle East, said the deals marked a “new chapter” in relations.
“China and Iran are two important developing countries that must continue regional and international cooperation,” he said.
Xi Jinping also held talks with Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Then, on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Europe, for four days of talks with his Italian and French counterparts, as well as Pope Francis.
“Landed in #Rome. Looking forward to deepening bilateral ties & exploring opportunities for#ConstructiveEngagement,” Rouhani tweeted.
At Quirinale, the Presidential Palace, he was greeted by an honorary guard.
Iran is a prize catch for Europe, with its sagging markets. Rouhani, the first Iranian President to visit Europe in sixteen years, is expected to sign big deals.
The government already plans to buy more than a hundred passenger planes from Airbus, during Rouhani’s stop in Paris.
Tehran claims that it needs another four hundred civilian aircraft over the next few years.
The Great Race — for what a Western ambassador in Tehran described as “the last gold mine on Earth” — has begun.
With eighty million people, Iran is the largest economy to return to the global marketplace since the Soviet Union’s demise, a quarter century ago.
“The legs of Iran’s economy are now free from the chains of sanctions, and it’s time to build and grow,” President Rouhani tweeted on January 17th, a day after international sanctions were lifted.
“I hope British businesses seize the opportunities available to them through the phased lifting of sanctions on Iran,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said when the nuclear deal went into effect, on January 16th.