St Petersburg University hosted meeting with Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi. The topic of the lecture was "The role of science and scientists in diplomacy". Anton Khlopkov, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Master’s Programme "Strategic and Arms Control Studies" and Director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies (Moscow) moderated the meeting.

Dr. Salehi, a nuclear physicist, currently teaches at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. He is also a member of the Iranian Academy of Sciences. For five years, from 2003 to 2008, Dr. Salehi represented Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For nine years, he headed the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (2009-2010 and 2013-2021), and in 2011-2013 he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran.

During the meeting, Dr. Salehi shared with the audience his views on the global changes in economics and technology and paid special attention to the role of scientists in solving the global problems. Dr. Salehi outlined a list of topical issues that scholars in the field of international affairs should pay attention to, emphasized the importance of an interdisciplinary expert dialogue, called for a comprehensive study of the prospects for regional cooperation on topical issues of international security and potential of multilateral diplomacy. During the Q&A session, Dr. Salehi spoke about his experience of negotiating with the United States to develop a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and shared his memories of how important science diplomacy was in setting the stage for future negotiations on JCPOA. The attendees learned what qualities and skills are important for a successful negotiator, what are the features of «Track II» diplomacy and what factors should be taken into account when conducting international negotiations.