The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
6 March 2001

Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to Iran

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Jeremy Roger Newman as Australia's Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He will replace Mr Stuart Hume, who has been Ambassador since March 1997. Mr Newman is expected to take up his position in April 2001.

Australia's relations with Iran are expanding. This reflects Iran's importance to Australia as an economic and commercial partner in a strategically important region. While there are areas of difference between the two countries, these can be discussed in a positive and constructive fashion, as my visit to Tehran in July 2000 has shown. Australia admires the commitment of President Khatami to democratic processes and his emphasis on strengthening the rule of law. Australia wishes to see its relations with Iran continue to develop to mutual benefit, especially in the commercial field. Iran is not only a key market for Australian exports but is also an area of major opportunity for Australian investors in the energy, mining and tourism sectors. The Joint Ministerial Commission, which was co-chaired by the Minister for Trade, Mr Vaile, has made good progress in advancing the bilateral economic agenda.

Mr Newman is currently Assistant Secretary in the Department's Strategic Policy and Intelligence Branch. Mr Newman was an Assistant Secretary in the International Division of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Chair of the Commonwealth Counter Disaster Task Force (1994-98). He also served as a Senior Analyst and later as a Branch head in the Office of National Assessments (1986-94). 

Overseas, he has served as Third Secretary in Belgrade (1977-79), Third Secretary in Dublin (1979) and Second Secretary in Washington (1982-85).

Mr Newman was born in Melbourne and educated in Singapore, Sri Lanka and Britain where he graduated from the University of Cambridge with first class honours in History.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 62777 500/
Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 2534

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