MPs Hail Zarif’s EU Diplomatic Drive

MPs Hail Zarif’s EU Diplomatic Drive MPs Hail Zarif’s EU Diplomatic Drive

Several lawmakers praised the ongoing four-country European tour of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, hoping such efforts will help speed up Iran's economic development.

Abdolreza Azizi, a newly reelected independent lawmaker, told ICANA on Wednesday that following the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which led to the removal of international sanctions on Tehran, such trips will help overcome "Iranophobia" and clean up the country's image across the globe.

"In recent years, some western countries and the Israeli regime have launched a heavy propaganda campaign against Iran, which has damaged relations between the Islamic Republic and other countries," he said. "Now, with the implementation of the nuclear deal [in January], the ground for developing ties and reducing tensions should be fully used."

Azizi said Zarif's diplomatic efforts in the past two years have helped build up trust between Iran and other members of the world community, especially European countries, which helps increase Tehran's foreign trade and facilitate its economic development.

Zarif left Tehran for Poland on Sunday, embarking on a five-day tour of Eastern and Northern Europe. Finland, Sweden and Latvia were the other countries on his itinerary.

"These countries enjoy a good status in the European Union and enhancement of relations with them will help attract more foreign investments and accelerate economic development," he said.

Another reelected legislator, principlist Aziz Akbarian, said in a Tuesday interview with ICANA that increased diplomatic engagement will be effective in modifying other countries' approach toward Iran.

"Iran seeks to improve relations with others, [in part] to strengthen its domestic economy that needs foreign investment," he said.

"The destinations of Zarif's trip play a big role in Europe's economy and they could be great partners for the Islamic Republic."

The nuclear accord, which eased Iran's access to the financial global system, has encouraged many governments and firms around the world to enter the Iranian market and make investments.

  Swedish Premier Plans Tehran Trip  

Zarif, who flew to Europe at the head of a 60-strong delegation of mostly businessmen, met his Polish counterpart Witold Waszczykowski in Warsaw and addressed a Polish-Iranian economic forum on Monday.

On the second leg of the tour, he arrived in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

During his stay in Finland on Tuesday, in addition to addressing a political conference on Middle East security and a Finnish-Iranian business forum, Zarif met Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Foreign Minister Timo Soini, Parliament Speaker Maria Lohela and former president, Martti Ahtisaari.

After that, Zarif left for Sweden and on Wednesday met Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

In the meeting, Zarif stressed the need for taking mutual cooperation to a higher level, especially in the political and economic fields.

Lofven welcomed the idea and said he is planning a visit to Tehran to help remove obstacles to closer engagement.

The two high-ranking officials also discussed conflicts in West Asia and highlighted the need to find political solutions as the only way of settling these problems.

On the same day, Zarif met his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom, and delivered a speech in a Swedish-Iranian business meeting.

The top diplomat will wind up his trip in Latvia today.