Bolivia restores diplomatic relations with Iran

November 13, 2020 - 22:7

TEHRAN - Bolivia’s new president, Luis Arce, has made good on his pledge to restore relations with Iran and Venezuela a few days after he assumed office.

During a formal ceremony in La Paz on Wednesday, President Arce received the credentials of the new ambassadors of Iran and Venezuela to Bolivia, reestablishing diplomatic relations damaged by the previous de-facto government led by interim president Jeanine Anez, according to a statement issued by Bolivia’s government.

Writing on Twitter, Arce said he was restoring bilateral relations with Venezuela “to strengthen strategic ties for the good of our peoples.” He said the same was being done with Iran and that “they are always welcome in Bolivia. We will continue to strengthen common projects,” Reuters reported.

The restoration of diplomatic ties between Tehran and La Paz came two days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended Arce’s swearing-in ceremony as part of a tour of several Latin American nations that included Venezuela and Cuba.

The chief Iranian diplomat visited Bolivia on Saturday night last week and was received by the speaker of the Bolivian parliament. He met with Luis Arce and later participated in his swearing-in ceremony.

“Just arrived in La Paz, to celebrate with Bolivians the fruits of their struggle to restore their democracy. And honored to participate in inauguration of President Arce on Sun. Great to witness the joy people exhibit celebrating their restoration of liberty & democracy,” Zarif said in a tweet upon his arrival in the Bolivian capital.

During the meeting, Zarif congratulated Arce on being elected as Bolivia's new president, saying Iran will firmly stand by the Bolivian government and nation. Arce, in turn, thanked the Iranian foreign minister for attending his swearing-in ceremony, adding his country seeks to boost ties with Iran, according to the Iranian Foreign ministry.

The election of Arce, a candidate of former President Evo Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, has given the Iran-Bolivia relations great boost. Arce expressed willingness to resume ties with Iran shortly after securing a landslide victory in Bolivia’s recent presidential election.

“We are going to re-establish all relations. This government has acted very ideologically, depriving the Bolivian people of access to Cuban medicine, Russian medicine, and advances in China. For a purely ideological issue, it has exposed the population in a way unnecessary and harmful,” Arce said.

He underlined that his government will open the door to all countries based on mutual respect and sovereignty, according to the Telesur, adding that he would carry out a foreign policy of restoration of relationships with Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran.

The Bolivian president kept his promise on Wednesday by receiving the credentials of Morteza Tafreshi, the Iranian ambassador to Bolivia.

The ground for restoring relations between Iran and Bolivia was laid immediately after the Arce win in the presidential election. Following the election of Arce, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a congratulatory message to Arce, congratulating him on his election as Bolivia’s president. Rouhani said the “decisive victory” of Arce “was not only a strengthening of the foundations of democracy but also a glorious demonstration of the administration of justice by the great nation of Bolivia.”

“In the new era of returning power to the people's representatives, I express support for the Your Excellency’s elected government, and express the readiness of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to revive bilateral relations and expand cooperation with the friendly country of Bolivia in all fields,” the Iranian president pointed out.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said in the time that Iran has seen a good omen in the election of Arce.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran sees a good omen in the restoration of democracy and power to the real representatives of (Bolivian) people after a year of tensions, congratulates the elected president of that country Mr. Luis Arce, and expresses full support for the elected government and readiness to revive cooperation and strengthen friendship bonds with that country (Bolivia),” Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said in a statement on October 20.

Zarif has also held phone talks with Morales, the former president of Bolivia and the leader of the party that won the country's recent election, expressing Iran's preparedness to promote bilateral relations with Bolivia's new legitimate government.

SM/PA

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