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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's press encounter after talks with the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament

Tehran, 29 August 2012

First of all I’d like to thank the Chairman of the Majlis, Parliament, Dr [Ali Ardashir] Larijani, with whom I have been communicating and meeting on matters of our common concern.


I am very pleased to visit Iran for the first time as Secretary-General. But as you may know, I have had fond memories of my previous visits in my capacity as a Korean diplomat starting from 1974. Iran ranks high in the international community for its very colourful civilization and culture, whose people have been contributing to world civilization and culture for humanity. In that regard I have deep respect for the Iranian contribution for humankind.


Now that Iran is taking the Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement this will give Iran and her people a very important opportunity to play a very moderate and constructive role working together with the United Nations and other international community members in addressing many global and regional challenges.  I believe that Iran has a crucially important role in addressing regional issues.


With the Chairman of the Parliament, Dr. Larijani, we have first of all discussed how Iran can help the situation in Syria and I really appreciate such generous support by accommodating hundreds of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan. Iran also has a very important role to play for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Like in Iraq and Bahrain and Yemen, we have discussed all these sweeping changes taking place in this region. There I expect Iran can play a very important role.


Let me say just one more word about the situation in Syria. I know that Dr. Larijani also has visited Syria recently. Iran has a very important role to play in helping to resolve this Syrian issue reflecting the will of the Syrian people in a peaceful manner. The Syrian people have suffered too long, too much. Almost 20,000 people have been killed during the last 18 months. The situation cannot go on this way. This is one of the important issues that I am going to discuss with the Iranian leadership.


In addition to what we discussed on regional issues with Dr. Larijani, we have discussed how the United Nations can work together with Iran to improve the human rights situation in Iran. We have serious concerns on the continuing human rights abuses and violations here in this country. My agenda also includes the nuclear development issue and other regional and global issues which I am going to discuss over lunch and also these will be some of my important agendas which I am going to discuss with the senior leadership of the Iranian Government.