Swiss foreign minister will visit Iran to mark 100 years of ties

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking during a visit to Switzerland in 2018. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Swiss foreign minister Ignazio Cassis will travel to Tehran this week to mark the centenary of Swiss-Iranian diplomatic relations. Switzerland currently holds “protecting power” mandates to mediate between Iran and the US, Canada and Saudi Arabia.  

This content was published on September 2, 2020 - 16:45

Cassis will meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani during the September 5-7 trip. He shared on Twitter that he had also spoken to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the planned visit.

On the agenda are discussions about the humanitarian aid channel that allows Swiss-based companies to send medicines and other essential goods to Iran. The first shipments of medical supplies to help Iran combat the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Tehran through the channel in July.

Talks will also take place on the latest developments after the 2015 nuclear deal which eased sanctions against Iran in return for a limiting of the country’s nuclear activities. Human rights and political developments in the Middle East will likewise be included on the agenda.

Discussions will also focus on bilateral relations and Switzerland’s protecting power mandates.

Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since 1980 and in June helped secure the release of US detainee Michael White from an Iranian prison. In 2017, Switzerland assumed protecting power mandates for Iran in Saudi Arabia and for Saudi Arabia in Iran. Since 2019 it has also represented Iranian interests in Canada.

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