McCully meets with Iranian minister

8:24 pm on 13 March 2016

The government is looking to refresh New Zealand's ties with Iran after long-running economic sanctions were lifted this year.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif this afternoon in Wellington - the first such meeting in more than a decade.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: AFP

Mr McCully said he discussed trade and economic issues during his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, who was visiting Wellington as part of a regional tour of six countries.

Iran was formerly New Zealand's fifth-largest export market, and a massive importer of lamb.

Mr McCully said he also discussed New Zealand's concerns about human rights abuses in Iran with Mr Zarif.

"I took the opportunity to thank Minister Zarif for the critical role he played in securing the nuclear agreement and encouraged Iran to use this opportunity to reset its relationship with the international community," he said.

Murray McCully and Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Murray McCully and Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: RNZ / Benedict Collins

Mr Zarif was expected to meet with Prime Minister John Key, Trade Minister Todd McClay and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy tomorrow.

He will also speak to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs tomorrow.

Along with many Western nations, New Zealand lifted sanctions against Iran last month after it agreed to roll back its nuclear activities.

New Zealand exporters described the removal of sanctions as an opportunity to tap into new markets and renew the country's relationship with an old trading partner.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs