We support greater openness and dialogue between Iran and the international community, and encourage Iran to play a stabilising role in the wider Middle East.
The Elders welcomed the July 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme between Iran, the P5+1 countries (US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) and the EU. The agreement represents a historic opportunity to end decades of animosity between Iran and the West, especially the US, and to rebuild relationships on the basis of trust and mutual respect.
Implementation began in January 2016 and despite the decision by US President Donald Trump in October 2017 to decertify the nuclear deal, the agreement has been broadly observed by all sides. Iran is now subject to the strongest nuclear verification regime in the world.
The continuing success of the agreement remains subject to the implementation and good faith of all signatories. Iran must stick to its pledge of full transparency and compliance. The other parties to the agreement must ensure that Iranians are able to feel the benefits of the agreement, in particular through the lifting of international and national sanctions and the ensuing trade and economic benefits. The Elders recognise that trust cannot be built overnight and must continue to be carefully nurtured, for the benefit of the region and the wider world.
At the Munich Security Conference 2017 in February, Lakhdar Brahimi and Ernesto Zedillo discussed the merits and consequences of the Nuclear Agreement for regional and global security.
The Elders wish to see Iran acting as a stabilising force in the region, working with its neighbours on collective regional security arrangements that transcend national, ethnic and sectarian barriers; and fully reintegrated into the international community.
For this to occur, Iran and other regional powers must move from regional rivalry to cooperation. A more constructive and cooperative approach could help bring peace to Syria, Yemen and elsewhere – and transform the negative dynamics that have plagued the Middle East in recent years.
The Elders hope that any improvement in Iran’s relations with the rest of the world will lead to better living conditions for its people – social as well as economic. Decades of conflict, sanctions and at times arbitrary rule have had a deeply negative impact on a resourceful and cultured people.
Every country has the right to choose its own political system, in line with its traditions and culture. However universal human rights, as defined by the United Nations, transcend all boundaries of race, gender and creed, and must be respected.
In their first visit to Iran as a group, The Elders travelled to Tehran in January 2014 to meet privately with the Iranian leadership.
Chair of The Elders Kofi Annan with Iran's President Rouhani, 28 January 2014
Delegation leader Kofi Annan and fellow Elders Martti Ahtisaari, Desmond Tutu and Ernesto Zedillo held a series of productive meetings on the easing of regional tensions; the spread of extremist violence internationally; human rights; and the Syrian crisis. They were encouraged by Iran’s new spirit of openness and dialogue with the outside world. Read more about the outcomes of the visit – also available in فارسی.
In February 2015, The Elders met again with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, on the margins of the Munich Security Conference, to encourage a successful conclusion of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations and to discuss solutions to regional security issues.