Prime Minister Støre spoke with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

On Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre had a telephone conversation with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi as part of Norway’s contact with the countries and parties in the Middle East.

During their conversation, Mr Støre expressed deep concern over the heightened level of tension in the region. The situation in Gaza was the main focus of the conversation. 

Mr Støre was clear in stating that Norway condemns the terrorist attack against civilians by Hamas on 7 October. Israel has the right to self-defence and Norway has emphasised the requirement to comply with the principle of proportionality and the protection of civilians required under international humanitarian law. Mr Støre also said the hostages must be released and foreign nationals must be allowed to leave Gaza. 

The Prime Minister went on to stress that steps must be taken to avoid further escalation of the conflict and urged Iran to help to prevent such escalation.

Mr Støre expressed grave concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the difficult conditions for civilians due to the war and shortages of food, medicines and fuel. ‘Norway supports a humanitarian pause. The scale of humanitarian need is enormous,’ he said.

The Prime Minister was also clear in stating that the conflict in the Middle East cannot be resolved by military means, and that the two-state solution must be brought back to the table. Norway has been working to encourage the parties to resume negotiations on this for many years.

‘We already need to be giving some thought to what is to come after the war is over. Moving forward will require diplomatic initiatives and solutions,’ Støre said. 

The Prime Minster concluded by pointing out that Norway and Iran have an ongoing dialogue on human rights and raised the issue of Iran’s challenging human rights situation, especially with regard to freedom of expression and women’s rights.