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Post Cabinet Conference: Dr Zarif and the Security Review

Today’s post-cabinet press conference was dominated by discussion of the security agencies review and the visit last weekend of the Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Zarif. Key also addressed concerns about the Clutha Southland electorate and the effect of the American primaries on the likelihood of the TPP being ratified.

Prime Minister John Key said that the first visit from an Iranian Foreign Minister in ten years had gone well. His conversations with Dr Zarif had centred on regional issues for Iran in relation to New Zealand’s role on the United Nations Security Council. Mr Key said that he not raised the treatment of minorities in Iran with Dr Zarif but said a relationship is being built with Iran where a wider discussion about domestic and foreign policy could be had. He emphasised the possibilities of trade with Iran as sanctions against it begin to ease.

The Prime Minister fielded many questions about the Independent Review of Intelligence and Security and its effect on policy but answered very few. He would not put a date on further announcements or on conversations with Labour members of the Security and Intelligence Committee. He said that the report was now in the public domain and that a period of comment and discussion was called for.

Key was not prepared to discuss anything to do with National Party MP Todd Barclay and the ongoing allegations of disputes in the Clutha Southland Electorate Office. He said that had not talked to Barclay. When asked whether he had asked someone else to, he said he didn’t know who had spoken to whom.

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