Photo: Juhani Kandell/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Press release 54/2016
26 October 2016
During his official visit to Tehran on 26 October, President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö met President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Presidents discussed relations between Finland and Iran, and between Iran and the EU, and the situation in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.
In a press conference held after their meeting, President Niinistö thanked his hosts for the opportunity to visit Iran and pointed out that the countries have a long history of cooperation.
“Iran was one of the first countries to recognise Finland’s independence, and now our countries will further deepen their cooperation,” President Niinistö said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action completed in July 2015. Sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme were lifted in January 2016 and Iran was readmitted to international trade circles.
“This agreement represents a significant milestone, and I would like to congratulate President Rouhani for his contribution to achieving it,” President Niinistö said.
Following the agreement, Finland and Iran can now enter into closer economic cooperation. Four memoranda of understanding were signed at the meeting between President Niinistö and President Rouhani.
These memoranda of understanding will facilitate trade between the two countries. The signed memoranda cover the energy sector, natural resources and forest management, the ICT sector, and investments and financial assistance. Kai Mykkänen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, signed the memoranda as Finland’s representative, except for the memorandum on investments, which was signed by Finnvera’s Executive Vice President Jussi Haarasilta.
Situation in the Middle East under discussion
The presidents discussed many aspects of the situation in the Middle East.
“It was interesting to hear President Rouhani’s views on the situation in the Middle East, terrorism and drug trafficking. We fully agree that international cooperation is necessary to effectively address these issues,” President Niinistö emphasised.
President Niinistö also brought up Iran’s refugee situation. There are almost three million Afghan refugees in Iran.
“We agree that people should receive help and assistance in their countries of origin, so that they are not forced to leave their homes,” President Niinistö commented.
According to President Niinistö, economic cooperation provides a possible solution to promoting peace in the Middle East and to solving the refugee issue.
He underlined the importance of cooperation with regard to human rights: “It is important to maintain a dialogue between the EU and Iran concerning human rights.”
Meetings with political leaders included in the visit
During his visit, President Niinistö will also meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei, Speaker of the Parliament of Iran Ali Larijani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarifi.
In Tehran, the President was accompanied by a business delegation consisting of representatives from sectors such as cleantech, bioeconomy, information technology, and health technology. On the first day of the official visit, Tuesday 25 October, a seminar on the business cooperation between Iran and Finland was organised.
- 10/26/2016 President Niinistö in Iran: Many opportunities in cooperation between Finland and Iran
- 10/25/2016 Opening address by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the Finnish-Iranian business seminar in Tehran