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Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Discusses Nuclear Weapons and Human Rights While Visiting Finland

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Discusses Nuclear Weapons and Human Rights While Visiting Finland
Before meeting Minister Zarif, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto was speaking about various topics, including nuclear weapons, at the Korjaamo Culture Factory in Töölö at a convention of the heads of Finnish missions abroad on August 19, 2019. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrived in Finland on Monday morning. He visited Mäntyniemi, the official residence of the Finnish president, where he met President Sauli Niinistö.

Their discussions included the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and maritime safety in the Persian Gulf and topics related to human rights.

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In the afternoon, Minister Zarif was escorted to the House of the Estates to meet with the Finnish foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto.

Around the same time, the Finnish Kurdish Federation was holding a protest at the Senate Square. Their purpose was to remind Finland to stress to Minister Zarif that Iran absolutely must respect international deals.

According to the association, especially the Kurdish people have been suffering in the past and in present Iran.

Here’s what Minister Haavisto said at the press conference after his talks with Minister Zarif.

• We have just finished constructive discussions with Foreign Minister Zarif. We discussed the bilateral relations between Finland and Iran and particularly some acute international issues related to the future JCPOA as well as some of the regional issues including the Syrian conflict. We also discussed human rights and migration.

*Editor’s note: JCPOA is an acronym for Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a 159-page agreement between Iran, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States and Germany. In its essence, the deal is about Iran accepting strict rules and oversight of its nuclear activity in exchange for being allowed back into the international community.

• We raised our concern related to maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz especially relating to the vessel Stena Impero. Finland has been assisting the Latvian citizen who is part of the crew. We made an appeal for the release of the crew and the vessel.

• We also made an appeal to continue cooperation on JCPOA. We view it as a very important international agreement and we should all do our best to keep the agreement alive. Finland is ready to do its part.

• On human rights, we expressed our concerns relating to the use of death penalty and the situation of human rights defenders in Iran and discussed how to support the human rights development in the country.

After their talks, Zarif concluded his visit to Finland by meeting Ville Skinnari, the minister for development cooperation and foreign trade.

From Finland, Minister Zarif will continue his trip to Sweden and Norway.

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