Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has signed trade deals with France worth billions of dollars following the lifting of international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.
"We are ready to turn the page for a new relationship between our two countries," he told a group of French business leaders in Paris after his arrival Thursday in the French capital.
"We are announcing today that we are ready for this and on this trip we bring this message toward all investors, economic bodies, that they are welcome in Iran."
WATCH: Iranian president speaks on bilateral relations with Paris
Later Thursday, Rouhani met with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace. Some 20 agreements were signed in the presence of the two leaders, including in the areas of health, agriculture and the environment.
Iran Air has agreed to update its aging fleet by purchasing 118 passenger planes from European aircraft maker Airbus, in a deal worth an estimated $25 billion. French sources said the sale, which includes both medium- and long-haul planes, will be finalized once international sanctions against Iran are fully lifted.
Another deal will pave the way for a joint venture between French car manufacturer Peugeot Citroen and the Iranian firm Khodro. Peugeot, which pulled out of Iran in 2012, will modernize a Khodro factory near Tehran. It’s expected to produce 200,000 vehicles a year starting in 2017.
Also, the French oil firm Total announced a deal to buy oil from Iran, the first such agreement with a Western oil company following the lifting of sanctions.
After the meeting with Rouhani, Hollande lauded the new chapter in relations, saying "this relationship can be useful, useful to our two countries, useful to the region, which is marked by war, by crises and therefore by tragedies, and useful to the world."
He said he reminded the Iranian leader that France was "committed to human rights."
Rouhani, for his part, told reporters that Iran and France should share intelligence to fight against "fanaticism, terrorism and extremism."
Protests greet Iranian president
Rouhani's arrival in Paris on Thursday was met by 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.
His visit to France is the first by an Iranian president since 1999 and comes as part of a five-day trip. It included a stop in Rome, where he signed an estimated $18 billion in deals for steel and pipelines.