Jan 22, 2020, 2:17 PM
Journalist ID: 1195
News Code: 83644140
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World missed opportunity for dialog with Iran's absence in WEF

Tehran, Jan 22, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has refused to take part in Davos for the third consecutive year after four years of participation which aimed to use the event as a chance to highlight Iran's principled policy of dialog and mutual respect in dealing with world.

Zarif had full intention to participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos this year but then announced last week that he wouldn’t. His spokesman said Zarif’s reassessment of the issue was due to the fact that the organizers of the forum had “unilaterally changed mutually agreed arrangements”.

The development comes as tensions between Iran and the United States heightened recently in the wake of the US assassination of the IRGC’s Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani.

The two countries were on the brink of war, but tensions cooled down after Iran signaled there will be no military follow-up after it took revenge by a missile attack on two US bases in Iraq.

Some analysts say the change in Zarif’s scheduled speech in WEF was done under pressure from the US, while the US President Donald Trump takes part in this year’s version of the event after he refused to attend last year because of a shutdown in the federal government.

The analysts add that Europeans too aren’t so much willing to have Zarif speaking in Davos as he recently expressed sharp criticism over their announcement that they would trigger the dispute mechanism in the JCPOA to restore international sanctions against Iran.

The Washington Post revealed that European’s triggered dispute mechanism, accusing Iran of nuclear deal violation after Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn’t.

Iran’s top diplomat wrote in a tweet on Jan 16: “Appeasement confirmed. E3 sold out remnants of #JCPOA to avoid new Trump tariffs. It won't work my friends. You only whet his appetite. Remember your high school bully? If you want to sell your integrity, go ahead. But DO NOT assume high moral/legal ground. YOU DON'T HAVE IT.

Zarif had the opportunity to attend the WEF as Iran’s Foreign Minister in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He took advantage of the event prior to the nuclear deal as a platform to meet the US and European counterparts and pave the way to strike the deal.

The foreign minister also took part in different panels held on the sidelines of the conference all these years to express Iran’s views on different global and regional issues.

Former senior presidential advisor Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi and former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki went to the WEF in 2008. Mottaki also took part in the next two years, but no Iranian official attended the conference until 2014.
In 2014, President Hassan Rouhani participated in the event and delivered a speech in the inauguration ceremony of the conference. He had meetings with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and Secretary General of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.

Rouhani tried in his address to convey Iran’s message of peace, friendship and cooperation to all nations and ensure the world economic leaders that Iran has enough security to host foreign investment.

However, he was not the first Iranian president to attend the event. In 2004, the then President Mohammad Khatami joined the world leaders in the forum. He also showed up to the WEF three years later when he was no longer a president.

Iran has always used the World Economic Forum as a platform for dialog with the world. But in this year’s edition of WEF the world “missed opportunity for dialog” as MFA spokesman stated, amid heightened tensions in the region and the US efforts to wipe out a deal that is the most significant diplomatic achievement in non-proliferation history.

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