Iran’s absence at Davos sparks Speculation

From Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Despite reports that Iran’s foreign minister had canceled a scheduled trip to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, Tehran says he never planned to participate in this year’s summit.

On Jan. 21, Reuters said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had canceled his trip to Davos. In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi denied these news stories, saying Zarif had no plan to attend this year’s World Economic Forum. Qassemi said Jan. 22 that Zarif’s presence in Tehran was necessary to observe structural changes within the ministry.

Based on new changes in the Foreign Ministry, Abbas Araghchi has been appointed as political deputy, Gholamreza Ansari as deputy for economic affairs and Gholam-Hossein Dehqani has been chosen as deputy for legal and international affairs. Moreover, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, who was previously the deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs, has been named as senior adviser on political issues.

Meanwhile, a Reformist newspaper slammed the Iranian government for missing the opportunity to attend Davos. Ebtekar newspaper wrote Jan. 24, “Zarif, who was present at Davos in recent years representing Iran, has canceled his trip to Switzerland based on unknown reasons.“ The newspaper mentions the Foreign Ministry’s statement, adding that “it is not clear whether this reason can be convincing [or not], but besides Zarif, isn’t there another official from our country who can attend this [event on the] international stage?”

Ebtekar continued, “Although Iran has been one of the constant participants in the Davos summit in recent years, and even Hassan Rouhani invited foreign investors to Iran during his presence at the summit … in the first year of his presidency. But this participation is very low compared with developing countries. In fact, during these years, Iran has not been able to take advantage of this global opportunity, and even has had some negative views toward this summit.”

The newspaper said that “Iran has been left behind by … other countries who have joined the process of serious convergent trends due to the lack of [Iranian] attention to the economic and technological opportunities of the world.”

The paper said public diplomacy “has been one of the important weaknesses of Iran in the international arena” and said that Zarif for the last few years has been able to address this issue through his participation in international events.

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