The mood has changed towards Iran and once a solution is found to the country’s nuclear programme, it could offer Hungary great potential to develop ties and boost exports, the Hungarian foreign minister told MTI in New York, after addressing the UN General Assembly’s session on Monday.
“If issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme in fact become resolved, Hungary’s starting position [for developing ties] will make a difference,” Janos Martonyi said.
He said that Hungary, while observing international sanctions, has maintained ties with Iran, noting that about 1,000 Iranians study at Hungarian universities and despite international sanctions, Hungary exports to Iran.
“We have traditionally good relations with Iran and I believe there will be great opportunities opening up for Hungary to export there in the future,” Martonyi said, noting that he held talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, on Monday.
Martonyi said he had held meetings with leaders and representatives of Jewish organisations including the north-American chapter of the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.
Martonyi said he as a routine always meets American Jewish organisations whenever he attends the UN General Assembly sessions.
“I think it is important that the largest Jewish community of Central Europe lives in Hungary and we hope they feel, despite their anxieties, increasingly secure,” the foreign minister said.
He also called it important that around 200,000 Hungarian-speaking or Hungarian-origin people live in Israel, a large part of whom hold Hungarian citizenship and will most probably cast their votes, similarly to other Hungarians elsewhere in the world, at Hungary’s next general elections in 2014.