October 21, 2015 / 8:52 AM / 3 years ago

Iran's Rouhani to visit Italy, Vatican next month - source

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks after returning from the annual United Nations General Assembly, in Tehran September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

ROME (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will visit Italy next month, his first trip to a European Union capital, and also meet Pope Francis, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

The source said the visit would take place Nov. 14-15 and that Rouhani would meet the pope, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella. The Iranian leader is expected in Paris on Nov. 16-18.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni invited Rouhani to Rome last August during a trip to Tehran.

Several European ministers have visited Tehran since a deal was struck last July to curb Iran’s nuclear progamme in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Iran denies Western concerns it wanted to develop nuclear weapons.

The United States approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran on Sunday, though it cautioned they would not take effect until Tehran has acted on the nuclear accord.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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