In meeting with Iranian official, UN chief lauds release of political prisoners

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file photo)

19 September 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today commended the efforts of the new Government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community, and its recent release of a dozen political prisoners, as he met with the country’s Foreign Minister.

Among the political prisoners released yesterday is human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as a number of women’s rights activists, political activists and journalists.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters, Mr. Ban recalled that he had raised this issue during his visit to Iran last year and had urged the Government to release these prisoners.

“I am glad that they have finally taken action,” he said, as he reported on his meeting today with Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif.

“I told the Minister that I am pleased that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is now taking some concrete steps to fulfil the promises made by President [Hassan] Rouhani during his recent election campaign.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to Mr. Rouhani next week “to discuss matters of mutual concern” on the sidelines of the annual high-level debate held by the General Assembly.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Zarif also discussed Iran’s growing cooperation with the international community on a host of issues, including the nuclear file, as well the role Iran could play in promoting a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

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