Switzerland has extended its role of providing good offices between disputing countries by signing an agreement to represent Iran’s interests in Canada.
Canada broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012 and closed its embassy in Tehran. Switzerland has agreed to step into the breach as a go-between, having signed a protecting power mandate in Canadaexternal link agreement with Iran in Bern on Thursday. The arrangement will not include consulate services.
Politically neutral Switzerland already holds several protecting power mandatesexternal link globally, with another agreement to represent the interests of the United States in Venezuelaexternal link pending final approval by the South American country.
Switzerland acts as a diplomatic messenger between Iran and the US, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Switzerland welcomed Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Seyed Abbas Araghchi, and other diplomats in Bern on Thursday. Discussions ranged from “bilateral, regional and multilateral matters, as well as judicial and human rights issues”.
“The consultations were held against the backdrop of tensions that have recently affected regional and global stability,” read a Swiss government statementexternal link.
The two sides also reviewed a cooperation road map that was signed in 2016. This has now been extended to cover cooperation on water and health.