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Meetings between Minister Coveney and the President and Foreign Minister of Iran

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, T.D., met the President of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif today in Tehran. Discussions focused on the Iranian nuclear deal, the JCPOA, as well as regional issues and Ireland-Iran bilateral relations in advance of the re-opening of an Irish diplomatic presence in Tehran.

Speaking after the meetings, the Minister said:

 “As Facilitator for UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which underpins the Iranian nuclear deal, the JCPOA, it was a particular priority for me to visit Tehran early in Ireland’s tenure on the Security Council. This is a crucial moment for the JCPOA. I am in ongoing contact with the parties to the agreement and today’s discussions with President Rouhani and Minister Zarif were intensive and productive. Ireland encourages all parties to return to full compliance with the JCPOA. There is a historic window of opportunity to return to dialogue and agree a path back to the agreement. I emphasised to my Iranian interlocutors that Ireland is ready to support and facilitate these efforts in line with our Security Council role.

"I also had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues on the Security Council agenda with Minister Zarif, including Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East Peace Process. 

"I emphasised Ireland’s full support to the work of UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the importance that we attach to all parties agreeing to a negotiated solution to the conflict. It is unacceptable that 24 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance and that half of Yemeni children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition. Political will is needed to end the conflict and all those with influence should encourage the parties to engage seriously and urgently with the efforts of the Special Envoy. 

"I also highlighted the need for progress in Syria, under the terms of Security Council Resolution 2254. Ireland has a key role on the Security Council along with Norway in ensuring ongoing humanitarian aid to all those in need in Syria and I asked Minister Zarif for Iran’s support in our work on this file. We discussed Afghanistan, where Ireland and Iran share concerns at the increase in violence in recent months and urge all parties to the negotiations to renew their commitment to making progress on a comprehensive peace deal. 

"Minister Zarif and I also welcomed the forthcoming Palestinian elections and noted the importance of all parties engaging in a constructive and transparent manner.  The holding of elections in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and in Gaza is a crucial step towards Palestinian unity and reconciliation, giving a voice to Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, and renewing the legitimacy of national institutions, including a democratically elected Parliament and Government. I reiterated Ireland’s firm commitment to a negotiated two-state solution that ends the occupation that began in 1967; with Jerusalem as the capital of both States, on the basis of international law, including relevant UN Security Council resolutions. 

"We also discussed recent developments in Ireland, the EU and Iran, including the situation regarding COVID, political and economic developments and human rights issues.”

The Minister added:

“Finally, I was pleased to confirm the decision of the Irish Government to designate a Chargé d’Affaires to Tehran in the coming weeks and to re-establish an Irish Embassy in Tehran in 2023. This will allow bilateral relations between Ireland and Iran to deepen and strengthen in the years ahead”

Minister Coveney expressed his gratitude to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Tehran and to Ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel for support to Ireland in re-establishing a diplomatic mission. Ireland’s Chargé d’Affaires in Tehran, Mr. Justin Ryan, will be located in the German Embassy throughout 2021 and 2022.

Press Office
7 March 2021

Notes to Editors

  • Ireland is Facilitator of Resolution 2231 on the Security Council. In this role, Ireland updates the Council on progress towards implementing Iran’s nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
  • The JCPOA was agreed in 2005 between Iran and the E3+3 (France, Germany, UK, US, China, Russia). The US, under President Trump, withdrew from the agreement in 2018. The Biden Administration has indicated a willingness to re-engage with the JCPOA, should Iran come back into compliance.
  • On 2 March the Government announced the re-establishment of an Irish Mission in Tehran, to be headed at Chargé d’Affaires level. The Mission will be co-located with the German Embassy under a co-location agreement.
  • The Government also committed to re-establishing an Irish Embassy in Tehran by 2023.
  • Minister Coveney travelled to Iran on 7 March to meet with the President of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rouhani and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Javad Zarif.

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