Wednesday, March 05, 2014, 15:00 - 16:00
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Foreign Minister, Islamic Republic of Iran
"Priorities of Islamic Republic of Iran's Foreign Policy "
Iran stands on the brink of a return to the international fold after decades of U.S.-led sanctions, following a landmark agreement in November covering the country's disputed nuclear programme. Under the arrangement some sanctions are being lifted on the Islamic republic in return for steps to curtail its atomic programme.
Western powers says the programme is aimed at building a nuclear weapon but Tehran insists it is for peaceful purposes, in a dispute that has been a sore point in international relations for many years. Even with the initial deal and a promising start for talks on a final settlement, the threat of a U.S. invasion hasn't been completely taken off the table and Israel has left open the possibility it will bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.
Many argue Iran made concessions because of fresh sanctions imposed from 2012 that cut its oil exports by more than half, costing the country billions of dollars of lost revenue every month. With the election of moderate Hassan Rouhani as President last year the country is on a charm offensive and is promising favourable new terms to foreign companies to develop its huge untapped oil fields.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is the diplomatic face of the new Iran and is also the country's top nuclear negotiator. Zarif completed his tertiary studies in the U.S. and gained a Ph.D. in international law and politics at the University of Denver in 1988.As well as spending two decades teaching at university level, Zarif has been actively involved in international diplomatic circles. He has chaired the United Nations Disarmament Commission and the Unesco Cultural Commission as well as serving as vice-president of the UN General Assembly.