President Hassan Rouhani left Tehran for Zürich on Monday on the first leg of his visit to Switzerland and Austria, which is taking place at the official invitation of the presidents of the two European countries.
He was seen off at Mehrabad Airport by First Vice-president Dr. Jahangiri and Advisor to Supreme Leader in International Affairs Dr. Velayati.
Speaking at the airport, Dr. Hassan Rouhani said, “The visit to the two European friend countries, Austria and Switzerland, is taking place at the official invitation of the presidents of these two countries in response to their visit to Tehran”.
Referring to the historic relations between Iran and Austria, he stated, “Political relations between Iran and Austria date back to 160 years ago and this indicates the importance of these relations”.
Today, Europe is somewhat different from the past, said Rouhani adding, “Today, Europe is announcing its opposition to unilateralism with a louder voice and explicitly declares its readiness to cooperate with Iran and influential countries on regional and international issues”.
The president added, “Negotiations that led to the nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 was hosted mainly by Switzerland and Austria, and the two countries were doing their best to create a good atmosphere for negotiations”.
Dr. Rouhani said, “Today, as Americans have withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) against international rules and multilateral commitments, communication and negotiation with Europe has a special role, since all five countries, including Russia and China, and three European countries and the European Union member countries are trying to stay in the deal without the United States”.
“Everyone feels that survival of deal is in the interests of the region and the world and unanimously condemn US for not adhering to Resolution 2231, which requires all countries to cooperate,” continued the President.
“This visit is an opportunity to discuss the future of the JCPOA and the agreements with the European Union, especially since Austria has been in charge of the European Union’s rotating presidency since yesterday, and so we will discuss with Austria as the union’s chair,” said the president.
Dr. Rouhani said, “Europeans are also set to present their package in the coming days, and we will discuss the matter with them. There are, of course, some regional issues that we will discuss with Europe on the role that Iran can play for stability and security of the entire Middle East region”.
“Among these issues are Syria, Yemen, and the oppressions that have been affecting the people of these countries. The whole world is responsible for the crimes against the Yemeni people,” added the President.
The president also referred to the signing of documents between Iran, Austria and Switzerland during the visit, adding, “We will discuss the matter with senior officials in the field of industry commerce, health, treatment, modern technologies, education and water resources management, and documents will be signed in this regard”.
Dr. Rouhani said, “We also have both businesspeople and representatives of the economic sectors of Iran with us during the visit to both countries, and we will have meetings with businesspeople and entrepreneurs in both capitals, Vienna and Bern, and will meet with dear Iranians in these two countries”.
Iranian ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health, the vice president for science, the head of Center for Strategic Studies, president’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi, president’s deputy chief of staff for communications and information, Parviz Esmaeili and vice presidenr for political affair accompany Mr. Rouhani during the trip.
After being officially welcomed by the Swiss President Alain Berset in Zurich, Mr. Rouhani will travel to Bern by a helicopter to hold negotiations.
Holding a meeting with Swiss president, receiving Iranian expatriates residing in Switzerland, and signing cooperation pacts and agreements in political, economic, and cultural fields are among the main objectives of President Rouhani’s visit.
After two days, President Rouhani will leave Berne for Vienna at the official invitation of his Austrian counterpart.