Press releases, 07.09.2020

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif during an official visit to Tehran. Their discussions focused on Switzerland's protecting power mandates and efforts to ensure the region's stability. As the two countries celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, they also discussed cooperation in the fields of trade, science and human rights. Mr Cassis underlined that Switzerland and Iran have a long-standing relationship based on trust.

Regional stability in the Middle East is a priority for Swiss foreign policy. Mr Cassis reaffirmed Switzerland's readiness to continue to promote and facilitate constructive dialogue between the countries of the region. At the same time, he called on Iran to comply with the nuclear deal. Iran thanked Switzerland for the work it carries out under its protecting power mandates.

Mr Cassis, Mr Rouhani and Mr Zarif also discussed the progress made towards implementing the bilateral roadmap agreed in 2016 covering, among other matters, trade and finance, human rights, and cooperation in the fields of science, the environment, health, intellectual property and nuclear safety.

Mr Cassis cited the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement as a good example of Swiss-Iranian cooperation. "With the payment mechanism for the export of medicine and food, we are not only supporting Swiss companies, but also the people of Iran, which is currently subject to US sanctions," noted Cassis.

During his three-day working visit, Mr Cassis also paid a courtesy visit to the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf. Mr Cassis also welcomed the creation of the Iran-Switzerland parliamentary friendship group to mark the anniversary of diplomatic relations.

100 years of diplomatic presence
As part of the celebrations marking 100 years of Switzerland's diplomatic presence in Iran, Mr Cassis opened an exhibition in Tehran on the history of Swiss-Iranian bilateral relations. "As early as 1873, the Swiss Confederation and the Persian Empire signed their first treaty of friendship and trade. Switzerland enjoys great trust in Iran, a fact that also benefits the work we do as part of the protecting power mandates," said Mr Cassis at the opening ceremony.

Since 1980, Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran. In 2017, Switzerland assumed protecting power mandates for Iran in Saudi Arabia and for Saudi Arabia in Iran. Since 2019 it has also represented Iran's interests in Canada.

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