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“I am delighted to work in Seoul again,” says Amb. Taherian of IranFormer Charge d’Affaires of Iran

Some diplomats who worked in Korea before come back as an ambassador or in other capacity of a senior diplomat, and they seem to really like to be back in Seoul. The Korea Post recently interviewed Ambassador Hassan Taherian of Iran who was here from 1980 to 1985 as a charge d’affaires.?Ed.

▲Ambassador Hassan Taherian of Iran
I’ve been working in Korea as Ambassador of Iran since August this year. This is the second time that I am posted here in Seoul. I worked here from 1980 till 1985 as the Charge d’ Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Iran and I am very delighted to be here after all these years to work here and refresh my good memories.

Before Seoul, I was ambassador in Ireland as well as in North Korea. I’m married with two sons and one daughter and actually my oldest son and daughter were born here in Seoul during my first assignment. I enjoy reading and taking a walk in my leisure time.

Q: What is your view of the relationship between Korea and Iran and its outlook?

A: It is a well-known fact that South Korea during the last decades has achieved a very rapid economic growth and social changes and could demonstrate a successful model of development as sometimes refers as “the miracle of the Han River”.

I remember when I was here, there was a celebration on the occasion that the total export of your country reached to 20 billion dollars and now this figure is 560 billion dollars for last year.

By comparing these two figures, you can figure out how successfully South Korea has developed during the last thirty years. Proportionately this trend of progress can be traced in most of the economic as well as social aspects of Korean people

The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1962 and since then we have always had good and friendly relations with South Korea. High Iranian officials have a positive view toward Korea and support the expansion of the bilateral relation. So we are in favor of increasing the cooperation between the two countries and I encourage the Korean companies to be more active in Iranian market through joint venture and direct investment. Exchanges of high level government officials have been active but we like to see more progress in this regard as well.

Q: Do you have any delegations visiting Korea?

A: From September 2014 we had some high ranking delegation exchange. 3 Iranian ministers came to Korea for different purpose although their trip was not in the field of bilateral relation but international conference, the embassy grab this opportunity to arrange some bilateral issue to get more benefits on their trip to Korea . Minister of communication and IT, Minister of road and construction and Minister of sports and youth came to Korea from September up to November 2014. At the same time we hosted some Iranian delegation that came here for economic and trade negotiation.

Q: Please introduce your Head of Government, including his major achievements.

A: Dr. Hassan Rouhani The 64-year-old cleric is considered a relative moderate, and is best known abroad for his role as Iran's top nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005. But he has a long resume of accomplishments as an academic, longtime parliament deputy, and holder of various high-ranking government posts.

He was born in Sorkheh, a city in Iran's northern Semnan Province, in 1948.

Education:
Ph.D. Constitutional Law, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK (Thesis entitled: The Flexibility of Shariah; Islamic Law), M. Phil. Law, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK (Thesis entitled: The Islamic legislative power), B. A. Judicial Law, University of Tehran.

He has written so many books, which include: National Security and Nuclear Diplomacy, National Security and Economic System of Iran, Islamic Political Thought, more than 5 Vol, Memoirs of Dr. Hassan Rouhani

An Introduction to the History of Shia' Imams, and so many more.

Q: What was the volume of trade and what is the outlook? What are the most promising areas of investment by Korean companies, and vice versa?

A: Although there were some ups and down in our trade volume in recent years because of unjustified sanction against Iranian peaceful nuclear activity, generally the amount of bilateral relation is quite good. We had more than 10 billion dollar trade volume in 2013. We hope after lifting these sanction our trade volume will go up more rapidly. Oil industry , House and road construction , Ship building and Maritime affairs , Cargo transition , Car manufacturing , Health care industry, Information technology and Mobil manufacturing are the most area which Korean company can touch while planning to do their business in Iran . These activities can be done either by direct investment or joint venture.

Q: Who are the small-medium Korean companies as well as the big ones actively engaged in business and economic cooperation with Iran?

A: Based on information which was released by Korean authority, more than 2,500 SMEs are dealing with Iran directly or indirectly. Much more Korean companies are interested to take their hare in Iranian market because they understand the vital and importance of it for two key facts:

A: Iran’s stability and peaceful community

B: Iran as a great door to the CIS, Middle East and Afghanistan and Iraq market. So far some big company such as Daelim, Daewoo, LG, Samsung, and Kia has a good reputation for their participation in Iranian market.

Q: When is your National Day and how is it celebrated?

A: The11th of February (22 Bahman) is the Iranian National Day. On the 11th of February 1979 the Islamic revolution by the Iranian nation with the guidance of the late Imam Khomeini was obtained. Therefore Iranians are celebrating this day all over the world. Our Embassy also has a special program for celebrating this day in Korea.

Q: What are your major tourist attractions? Please introduce them in detail?

A: About major tourist attraction, it’s good to say that Iran is a four season country with all natural beauty such as mountain area ? jungle, desert, lakes, Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf. Recent research shows that Iran is on the top list of most ancient and oldest civilization with 4900 years of written history and background.

Esfahan:
As it is said "Esfahan Nesf-e Jahan" (Esfahan, Half of the World), one should walk throughout this city in order to have a better understanding of it. A city known as; blossomed rose, earthly paradise, turquoise bridge etc... , These are only some titles given to Esfahan from the periods of Malekshah the Seljuk 11th century AD (5th century AH) and Shah Abbas the great 17th century AD (11th century AH) to glorify and appreciate its grandeur. The monuments registered in UNESCO

The Grand Naghsh-e Jahan square can be named as the heart of Esfahan. It was given the title of the "World Heritage" and registered in UNESCO due to its matchless beauty and grandeur. Hopefully Chehel Sotoon palace will soon be counted as the world heritage as well. Isfahan is one of the most spectacular cities of Iran from the view point of tourist attractions. There are magnificent monuments ,which belong to different periods, fantastic tile- works, the outstanding architecture and ornamentations of the mosques and glorious palaces, the unique Naghsh-e- Jahan Square, old colorful houses, fascinating bazaars, minarets, beautiful natural attractions of the Zayandeh Rood river, pigeon towers, wonderful old bridges and tourist minded people .

Shiraz:
The natural base camp for any trip to Persepolis and the ancient sites of Nagsh-e Rostam and Pasargadae, the bustling city of Shiraz has a lot to offer in its own right .Shiraz is cherished throughout Iran as a city of poets. Two of the very greatest, in a nation for whom poetry is perhaps the most celebrated art, were born and passed their lives there; the great sage Saadi and Hafez, the Persian Shakespeare .Their resting-places, known as the Saadieh and Hafezieh respectively, are among Shiraz best known tourist attractions and represent what, for Iranians, are the essential qualities of this ancient southern city: elegance, repose and gardening .One of the most important cities in the Muslim world during the apex of its dynamic medieval civilization, Shiraz is still synonymous with poetry, wine and dancing Sufis in many people's minds. While much of Europe was stuck in the Dark Ages, Shiraz was a center of learning and art, and monuments to its glorious past can still be visited today. Modern Shiraz is known for its friendly inhabitants, laid-back lifestyle and lush gardens, where poetry is still read with enthusiasm by visitors and locals alike. Mausoleum of Hafez - Citadel of Karim Khan - Martyr's Mosque - Bagh-e Eram are some of the best tourists attraction in this city.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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