It seems Iran is quite the place to be right now judging by the procession of western diplomats and business leaders making their way to Tehran.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is there meeting with his counterpart Javad Zarif, discussing Iran’s nuclear programme. And more than 100 French business executives are also having meetings inside the country this week, with other European countries planning similar trips.
In the United States though, Congress continues to battle over new sanctions for Iran; and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has even joined the fray, arguing against that move.
Lord Lamont, the Chairman of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, has recently returned from Tehran as well. He was part of a UK parliamentary delegation that came back with strong recommendations for engagement with Iran. The former British finance minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that members of the government he met with were “positive” about dealing with the west and felt it was “in the interest of both parties”. But despite there being “a lot of goodwill” from the Iranian side, he says they felt negotiations could be “very difficult", that there is "quite a wide gap between the two sides”.
Asked whether President Hassan Rouhani is a man Britain “can do business with”, Lord Lamont told Amanpour he believes Rouhani is “sincere” and that he does want to make changes in Iran, but that he will not be able to make all the changes he wants unless he gets a nuclear deal.
That said, Lord Lamont says everyone he met in Tehran emphasised that any deal has to be approved “not just by the government, not just by ministers, but by other ‘centers of power’”.
Click above to watch the interview.