Iranian media: First of all, let me extend a warm welcome to Your Excellency. My question is on the Iran and P5+1 talks. What is Your Excellency’s assessment regarding the Iran and P5+1 talks, and how do you see the final end and final result of these talks, and the result of these talks on Iran – Asia and Iran – World cooperation?
Minister Shanmugam: I think even the President of the United States cannot answer this question. But let me try. I asked President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif yesterday, and I also asked Dr Velayati today, because the Iranian leadership is amongst those in the driving seat, in terms of the P5+1 talks. From an outsider’s perspective and from the perspective of a friend of Iran, what we have seen so far is very encouraging. The temporary agreement that has been reached is positive. And my understanding after speaking with the Foreign Minister and His Excellency is that there are obviously obstacles but these are not insurmountable. And with goodwill on both sides, and a focus on the key essentials and what is important for Iran and what is important for the rest of world within the framework of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), I think it is possible to reach a deal. And the Foreign Minister emphasised that it is not just economics. It must also relate to the dignity of Iran. And we understand that. And so we hope that for the benefit of the Iranian people and the entire region, a deal can be reached.
Iranian media: How do you assess the current position of Iran in the region?
Minister Shanmugam: I think if you look historically, Iran has always played a central role in the region. If you look at it and go back into thousands of years of Persian culture, there is a high culture that has been reached, and a high degree of refinement. I think Iran, with its population of nearly 80 million people and the quality of its people, has tremendous potential to play a positive role in the region.
Iranian media: How do you assess the viewpoints of the Western countries regarding the P5+1talks with Iran?
Minister Shanmugam: I think that the fact that the P5+1 involves a number of significant Western countries plus the EU speaks for itself. And not just the Western countries of course, by definition the 5+1 represent a significant weight in international affairs. You have many significant countries – China, Russia, Germany, the UK, France and the US. Thank you.
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