UN chief praises greater openness of new Iran govt

UN chief praises greater openness of new Iran govt

NEW YORK CITY - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday praised Iran’s new government for the release of a dozen political prisoners and promoting dialogue with the international community.

Ban, who is scheduled to meet next week with Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani, made the remarks after what he said was a “very good meeting” with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“I told Minister Zarif that I commend the efforts of the new government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community,” he said.

“I also praised the government’s actions in releasing 12 political prisoners yesterday, including the human rights lawyer, Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as a number of women’s rights activists, political activists and journalists,” he said.

Recalling that he had called for their release during a visit to Tehran in 2010, Ban said: “I am glad that they have finally taken action.”

He said he told Zarif he was pleased Iran “is now taking some concrete steps to fulfil the promises made by President Rowhani during his recent election campaign.”

Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said the secretary general and Zarif had discussed Iran’s growing cooperation on a variety of issues, including its nuclear programme and the role Tehran could play in promoting a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

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