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Zarif: Iran Could Become Science Powerhouse in Mideast

25 February 2016 18:43



Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran has what it takes to turn itself into the region’s powerhouse for economy, science and technology.

Zarif made the remark on Thursday at a conference on ‘Evaluating Strategies for Obtaining Scientific and Research Authority’ at Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

He went on to state that despite sanctions and pressures, Iranian scientists managed to outshine their regional rivals, adding, “I do believe what caused the world to take the decision to sit at the negotiating table with Iran using the language of dignity instead of sanctions was this very human capital.”

“We proved to the world that we seek dialog and interaction and our people are not separate from our government. This brought us to the point where countries instead of being afraid of paying reputational costs for interacting with Iran are now seeking to secure reputation by dealing with us,” he added.

Zarif further noted that “to the point where the radical US presidential candidate [Donald Trump] says why Iran should purchase Airbus and not Boeing.”

“This clearly means they have arrived at a point where cooperation with Iran is no longer a reputational cost but rather a site for competition,” he reiterated.

This comes as Vice President and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said several global research institutions have voiced willingness to cooperate with the Islamic Republic in joint scientific research projects.

“The country is going through an exceptional phase in light of the recent nuclear deal,” Salehi said while addressing the scientific forum in Tehran last Sunday.

“Simply put, the proposals for cooperation are too many to choose from,” he added.

According to Salehi, the country has received different proposals from influential scientific research centers in Europe, including ‘the European Organization for Nuclear Research’, known as CERN, Fer, and Italy’s INFN (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare).

Tehran and the European states have recently tried to expand scientific cooperation during the recent visits of Iranian officials to Europe.

Iran’s Science Minister Mohammad Farhadi and his French counterpart Thierry Mandon in a meeting in Paris last week said the two sides should cooperate extensively in science and research projects.

During the meeting held on the sidelines of President Hassan Rouhani’s recent visit to France, Farhadi said some 5,000 Iranians are studying at the French universities, so it makes sense for the two sides to seize this great opportunity for greater cooperation in the field.

He stressed the need for France to ease visa restrictions on Iranian students and researchers, help form a joint academic and scientific center, and promote exchange between the faculty and students of institutions.

French Minister Mandon welcomed the proposal, and said the recent nuclear deal has paved the way to this end, adding that the exchange program could also include Iranian and French experts.

He said a delegation of the French National Centre for Scientific Research is also due to visit Iran in the near future.

President Rouhani wrapped up his four-day visit to Italy and France on Thursday January 28. He was accompanied by a trade delegation during his visit to Rome and Paris.

During his stay in France, the Iranian president met with his French counterpart Francois Hollande. France signed 20 cooperation pacts while the two countries’ private sectors signed over 10 cooperation pacts.

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