Iran wants stronger ties with Italy after sanctions are lifted, said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who held a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in New York Sunday.

"In the post-sanctions era, a new chapter should be opened in cooperation and relations between Iran and the European Union, including Italy," Press TV quoted Rouhani as saying. The Iranian president is in New York to participate in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Iran managed to secure a nuclear deal with six world powers in July. A year before that, Iranian authorities arrested Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post correspondent, as well as two more Americans, Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati.

There also have been controversies in the United States regarding the Iran nuclear deal as some argue that U.S. President Barack Obama should have ensured the release of the U.S. nationals first before securing the agreement.

Rouhani has now said that nothing will make him happier than to release the American prisoners. However, Iran has also regularly demanded the release of 19 Iranian nationals who are in American custody in connection with U.S. sanctions against Iran, The Guardian reported.

Iran, meanwhile, has started its efforts to rejuvenate its relations with the West as the sanctions are going to be lifted with the implementation of the nuclear agreement. Rouhani said that Iran and Italy should take “practical steps” to ensure greater cooperation between the countries.

Rouhani also told the Italian prime minister that he would like Italy to invest in Iran, adding that Rome should focus on the joint production of goods for domestic and international use.