Iran ready for extensive co-op with Austria: ambassador

December 20, 2020 - 21:12

TEHRAN - There is no obstacle to expanding bilateral relations as the two countries share numerous potential opportunities in various fields, Iran's Ambassador to Austria Abbas Bagherpour-Ardekani said on Saturday.

In an interview with the Austrian magazine Society, Bagherpour-Ardekani pointed to the history of Iran-Austria relations, saying that 162 years have passed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the signing of the first friendship agreement by them, the state news agency IRNA reported.

According to the ambassador, some 15 years after the signing of the friendship agreement, the Austrian embassy opened in Tehran with Iran's mission opening in Vienna later.

Underlining that Iran-Austria relations date back to five centuries ago, the diplomat said, “Bilateral relations expanded in the nineteenth century, especially in the cultural, social and scientific fields.”

He added Iran was one of the first countries to recognize the establishment of the Republic of Austria in 1920.

Elsewhere in his interview, the envoy said Iran is a country with rich natural resources and educated people and that for years Iran was Austria's second-largest trading partner outside Europe, and Austria was considered one of Iran's five largest trading partners.

According to IRNA, Ambassador Bagherpour-Ardekani went on to say that there are many opportunities for investment in Iran. He cited investment in spheres of energy, railways, banking and insurance, tourism, research and technology, and development of southern ports as well as the routes connecting southern waters to Central Asia as examples.

Iran has started developing ports connecting the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to Central Asia and other countries.

The ambassador stated, “Iran has also made significant progress in new scientific fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomedicine, aerospace, etc. We are ready for extensive cooperation with Austria in these areas and we have created many channels and structures to achieve this.”

The diplomat added, “Some 40,000 Iranians live in Austria, including more than 2,000 physicians and a large number of engineers, university professors, researchers and businessmen, and so on. We are really proud of them. Top Austrian officials have repeatedly acknowledged their positive role in Austrian society.”

Austria played a crucial role in facilitating the nuclear negotiations between Iran and major world powers that culminated in the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It has recently expressed readiness to once again facilitate such negotiations.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has called on all parties to the 2015 nuclear deal to return to their commitments under the deal, expressing readiness to facilitate any new round of talks with the parties to the deal.

In a recent interview with IRNA, the Austrian foreign minister said it is difficult to predict whether U.S. president-elect Joe Biden would make good on his promise to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal.

“It is difficult to make predictions. But there are indications that all sides seem to be willing to engage in a process again. This is encouraging. Austria will certainly do its part by facilitating any talks if the sides so wish,” Schallenberg noted.

He also called on all parties to the nuclear agreement to uphold their obligations under the JCPOA.

“All sides need to keep up their commitments under the JCPOA. We welcome the cooperation of Iran with the IAEA under the JCPOA. But we are concerned by violations of the agreement. This regards nuclear research, the accumulation of low enriched uranium, and the installation of centrifuges. These developments need to be reversed. We worry that a less for less approach will only lead to a negative spiral that no one wants,” the Austrian foreign minister said.

SM/PA

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