The delegation aimed to encourage dialogue between Iran and the international community and promote peaceful solutions to conflict and sectarian divisions in the region.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “We believe very firmly that it is possible for all of God’s children to live harmoniously together.”
President Rouhani praised The Elders for the role they play in promoting peace and stability in the world. “The greater their success, the greater the benefits for the world,” he said, paying homage to The Elders’ founder Nelson Mandela.
President Rafsanjani was pleased to hear about The Elders’ work on several conflict areas and to discuss how regional governments could help resolve the Syria conflict.
The Elders shared their concerns about the spread of sectarianism and violence in the region and the resulting large refugee outflows. Foreign Minister Zarif explained that Iran is prepared to work with its neighbours and is looking for regional cooperation.
“Nelson Mandela told us to speak truth to power,” said Kofi Annan, “particularly on behalf of the weak, poor and voiceless.” He discussed the situation in Syria, Iran’s interim nuclear agreement and the three pillars of strong, healthy democratic societies – read his remarks in full.
During their meeting, the Elders and General Shamkhani discussed Iran’s importance in securing a ceasefire in Syria and a political solution to the conflict.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Kofi Annan briefly explained The Elders’ reasons for visiting Iran, emphasising that Iran should be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.
“We believe very firmly that it is possible for all of God’s children to live harmoniously together.” Desmond Tutu A delegation of Elders visited Tehran in January 2014 for a series of meetings with the Iranian leadership.
Photos: Morteza Nikoubazl | The Elders