Unprecedented in recent history- Iran minister attends talk by Israeli Minister

The Iranian delegate (second from right to left) who stayed during the speech of Israeli Minister Silvan Shalom (first from left to right)

It turns out that the Iranian delegate who stayed during the speech of Israel’s Energy Minister Silvan Shalom at the recent energy conference in Abu Dhabi was not a low-level delegate as originally reported.

He was in fact Hamid Chitchiyan, Iran’s Minister of Energy and a member of President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet. He attended the conference as part of the Iranian delegation.

So the Iranian side actually left its most senior member at the table while the Israeli Minister was speaking (see top right, photo from Silvan Shalom’s facebook page).

This gives more significance and weight to Iran’s gesture towards Israel in Abu Dhabi. Its been unheard of in the past decade for a serving Iranian minister to publicly sit on the same conference table as an Israeli Minister, while the latter was speaking to the audience. The Iranians usually leave.

Chitchiyan is also a former intelligence official with previous positions in the Ministry of Information and Security as well as the IRGC’s Intelligence organization. He also served in the ministry of Energy (as deputy minister) during Ahmadinejad’s first term as president.

I owe a big thank you to my friend Mr Amir Bajekhian for noticing the true identity of the Iranian delegate in question.

Iran’s Minister of Energy Hamid Chitchiyan