From 1980 to 1986, seasoned diplomat, Jan Eliasson was part of the United Nations mediation missions in the war between Iran and Iraq as assistant to former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who headed the missions. When Olof Palme was assassinated in 1986, Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar appointed Mr. Eliasson to be his Personal Representative on the Iran-Iraq issue in 1988. Mr. Eliasson held that position until 1992. Simultaneously, he served as Sweden's Ambassador to the United Nations and was the Chairman of the United Nations General Assembly's working group on emergency relief in 1991. From 1991 to 1992, he was Vice President of the Economic and Social Council and from 1988 to 1992, the Chairman of the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa. From 1994 to 2000, Mr. Eliasson served as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Sweden. He was elected President of the sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly on 13 June 2005. At the time, he was Sweden's Ambassador to the United States, a post he held since September 2000. On 27 March 2006, Mr. Eliasson was appointed Foreign Minister of Sweden.
Both interviews, the first conducted on 9 November 1999 and the second on 11 April 2000, focus on Mr. Elliasson's role in bringing the Iran-Iraq war to an end. He gives his personal input on the negotiation process and touches upon the implementation of Security Council resolution 598(1987)(S/RES/598(1987)), which called for a ceasefire.