Scottish Mission's Gains in Tehran Trip Highlighted

Scottish Mission's Gains in Tehran Trip HighlightedScottish Mission's Gains in Tehran Trip Highlighted

Former Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, has said a recent trip by a delegation of the Scottish National Party to Iran indicates that Scotland can use its political profile more efficiently than the UK to create foreign policy initiatives and opportunities.

"Opposition to western adventurism in the Middle East, a bilateral stance in trade talks and the intent to hold open discussions without lecturing and heckling" are key areas where Scotland outplays Britain on foreign policy, the Herald Scotland quoted him as saying on Sunday.

Salmond's comments came after a four-day visit to Tehran, during which he was accompanied by SNP colleagues Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire and Bill Kidd MSP for Glasgow Anniesland.

The SNP delegation arrived in Tehran on December 18 to explore potential economic trade links between Scotland and Iran.

Salmond described the opportunities for increased cooperation between Scotland and Iran in various domains, including oil and food.

"Examples of Scottish innovation, including Scottish oil pipeline technology to the creation of drought-resistant crops, are all key areas where Iranians are eager to open business."

According to the SNP delegation members, they were warmly welcomed in Iran enjoying much more ministerial access than the recent UK Trade and Investment delegation to Tehran, and the Iranians sought to capitalize on Scotland's wealth of knowledge in agricultural technology, oil and education.

"Everyone from government ministers and clerics to the waiters at the Espinas Hotel were well aware of Scotland and the journey the nation had experienced during the referendum," said the minister.

"People were fascinated by the potential of Scotland becoming a state, and it has to be said, excited by the idea," said Salmond.