Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has held talks with the President of Switzerland and Prime Minister of Sweden in New York on the sidelines of the 74th meeting of the UN General Assembly.
In his Tuesday night meeting with Swiss President Ueli Maurer, Rouhani praised the Swiss government’s efforts as protector of Iran’s interests in the United States, and said, “Switzerland has always been a sophisticated country to us and we have had very good long-standing relations with your country.”
The president pointed to Bern’s efforts to create a financial vehicle for economic exchanges, including the purchase of medicine, and said, “Unfortunately unlike the official stances it declares, the US government practically creates troubles for banking exchanges between Iran and Switzerland, even in fields like the purchase of medicine and humanitarian uses.”
Rouhani described it as the United States’ state terrorism, “because they are in fact determined to kill children and patients.”
The Swiss president, in turn, referred to the 100-year relations between Iran and Switzerland and said that the country’s impartiality and humanitarian tradition has roots in its history.
“In this regard, Switzerland is looking forward to hearing Dr Rouhani’s initiative – called Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) – which is aimed at ensuring security in the region,” he added.
In a separate meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Rouhani said relations between Iran and Sweden have always been good and positive, especially in industrial and trade fields.
However, he added, these relations have unfortunately encountered problems after the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA.
“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as an international agreement endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, has got seven pillars,” Rouhani said, adding that it is not acceptable that only one of them lives up to its commitments.
The President reminded the European Union, including Sweden, of their commitment to implement the deal in full, particularly by operationalizing the INSTEX.
He further elaborated on the situation in the region, particularly the continued killing of innocent Yemenis, and said, “Currently, the region is more than ever in need of establishing peace and stability and putting an end to the status quo, and the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) is in the same direction.”
The Swedish premier, for his part, thanked Iran’s hospitality during his recent visit to Tehran, adding that Stockholm seeks to develop relations with Iran in all fields, especially in economic areas.
Pointing to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s visit to Sweden and his country’s willingness to contribute to the security of the region, Löfven welcomed Rouhani’s initiative and said he would willingly look into it.
He also noted that his country has been a supporter of INSTEX and is looking for practical ways to operationalize the financial mechanism as soon as possible.
The Iranian president’s meetings with the Swiss and Swedish leaders came after his talks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He is going to deliver his speech at the UN General Assembly later on Wednesday.