0758 GMT December 14, 2019
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Italy's Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Antimo Cesaro conveyed the message of his country's President Sergio Mattarella who felicitated his Iranian counterpart on the opening of the prestigious cultural event.
"I am honored to extend my congratulations to President Hassan Rouhani on the inauguration of Tehran International Book Fair which is hosting Italy as a special guest and I am also honored to recall that during our joint meeting in January 2017, we mulled over cultural issues in the course of bilateral dialogues," read the message.
Mattarella further noted in his message, "Paper reached the West from East via the Silk Road and, in the meantime, paper and books have changed the world. Over centuries, Iranian and Italian nations have always exchanged knowledge and wisdom by the same means while playing a key role in consolidation of global civilization."
Later, Cesaro conveyed felicitation from Deputy Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini on the occasion and quoted him as saying, "The presence of Italy at Tehran Book Fair marks a turning point in cultural relations between the two countries."
Italy's deputy culture minister said his country attached great importance to the fair which is the largest in the Middle East. He underlined that Italy's presence would not be limited to the fairground asserting, "We have organized other cultural events which will take place across Tehran one being an exhibition of exquisite books from Anglican Church of Rome at the National Library of Iran."
Cesaro also appreciated relevant bodies and organizations such as Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Publishers Association, Italy's Embassy and the Italian Foreign Trade Office in Tehran for their cooperation and called for preparing grounds for ties between the Italian publishing industry and Iran.
The fair, whose motto this year is "Let's read one more book", is hosting visitors on May 3-13, IRNA reported.
The event will be attended by 2,282 publishers, including 643 domestic and 139 foreign publishers from 110 countries.
Italy is the special guest at the 30th fair with the motto 'Timeless Beauty' while the Turkish city of Istanbul is the event's guest of honor.
The exhibition will also host the heads of 14 foreign book fairs.
It is also planned that every day of the ten-day book fair be named after one of the Iranian provinces and one of the foreign participating countries in order to introduce special ceremonies and traditions of that province and country.