Relations between Iran and Malta unaffected by ‘marginal issues’ – Article by Kurt Sansone, The Times, 21st January 2011

Iran’s Ambassador Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini in Valletta soon after presenting his diplomatic credentials. Photo: Jason Borg

UN sanctions against Iran would not affect trade relations between Malta and the Persian Gulf state, according to the new Iranian Ambassador.

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini played down the significance of the sanctions and insisted trade relations with Malta would not be affected by “marginal issues” when asked whether the commercial operations of Iran’s state-owned shipping line at the Freeport would be affected.

Speaking with the help of a translator soon after presenting his diplomatic credentials to Acting President Anton Tabone at the Palace in Valletta, Mr Ali Hosseini described UN sanctions against his country as “unjust and illegal” intended solely to harm the Iranian people.

He said the Iranian people managed to survive despite the UN sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme. “Sanctions are ineffective to dissuade the Iranian people from pursuing their strategic interests in the world,” he said.

Focusing on relations between the two countries, Mr Ali Hosseini said there were various sectors, such as tourism, where trade between Malta and Iran could be developed. “With 15 neighbouring states, a population of 60 million and strategically positioned in a potential regional market of 300 million, Iran can promote Malta in the Persian Gulf,” he said.

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