Iran's membership in SCO will be beneficial for members, Kazakh ambassador says

October 19, 2021 - 17:49

TEHRAN — The Kazakh ambassador to Tehran has described Iran as a strong country in terms of economy and underlined that Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) would be very effective for the countries of the region in areas of trade and economic cooperation.

"Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be beneficial for the whole region. Iran is a strong country economically, and Iran's presence in trade and economic cooperation and economic programs in the Shanghai region will be very effective and, given the large population of members, will be beneficial for all countries and Iran itself," Ambassador Ashtak Orazbay told IRNA in an interview published on Monday.

Orazbay also said Kazakhstan will host an SCO meeting next month.

There was a mechanism in the SCO that the meeting of the presidents of the SCO was held once a year in a country that held the rotating presidency and prime ministers or heads of government were coordinating their plans at annual meetings, he explained.

Sending invitation to first VP

Iran was officially admitted as a member of the SCO when the leaders of the pact met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 16-17.

"Iran was previously an observer member and this year for the first time wants to attend the meeting as a permanent member. The summit will be held in Kazakhstan in 40 days (December) and we have sent an invitation to the First Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran," the diplomat pointed out.

Regarding the level of trade relations between Iran and Kazakhstan, the ambassador said: "There are two main problems with the corona and sanctions against trade between the two countries, but despite these obstacles, our trade with Iran is increasing exponentially."

Orazbay also spoke of the transit of goods between the two countries and said transit of goods between the two countries should be done through a third country and these countries create problems for travel of trucks. 

Iran and Kazakhstan are connected through the Caspian Sea. However, the ambassador says, the ports of Amirabad, Anzali, and Gorgan have limited capacity for cargo transport.

Orazbay added: "The volume of exchanges between the two countries is $230 million, which is very small considering the capacity of the two countries. At the same time, it is important that the intention of the two countries is to increase interaction. The presence of 30 Kazakh businessmen in Iran shows the will of the two countries to trade. Barriers can be overcome in the near future and we are trying to increase exchanges."

The Kazakh ambassador went on to say that the U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran have affected trade exchanges between the two countries. 

"However, we can exchange some goods, such as agricultural products.”

He added sports and cultural relations going on between the two states.

The ambassador went on to praise Iran for recognizing Kazakhstan immediately after it declared independence.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the first countries in the world to recognize Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of independence. It is in our memory and we will not forget it."

Kazakhstan’s top diplomat to Tehran said this showed that Iran was a “close” country not only geographically but also because of the great attention to the issues that were going on in neighboring countries. 

It was as if Iran knew that Soviet republics would soon become independent, and after Kazakhstan’s independence was officially declared, Iran was fully prepared and recognized it immediately, he explained.

The envoy also pointed to a looming resumption of talks in Vienna to possibly revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, stating since the Iranian negotiating team is new, new conditions may arise.

"We expect negotiations to start and there is hope that they will reach an agreement because the agreement is in the interest of all parties."

On cultural relations between the two countries, the Kazakh ambassador said: "Many Kazakh universities have a chair of Iranian studies after independence, and Farabi University has a faculty of Oriental Studies and Asian Studies, and Iran is part of it and Iranian language and culture are taught there and students will be Iranologist."

Referring to his acquaintance with Iran, he said: "I am Iranologist and I am fluent in Persian. I was part of the embassy staff and team when we established the Kazakh embassy in Iran in 1993, 28 years ago. Even now, my family is happy to be in Iran. So far, I have visited the cities of Rasht, Sari, Tabriz, Shiraz, and Kish, and I intend to go to Hamedan."
"Iran is one of the oldest and most ancient civilizations in the world, and a country with this amount of civilization and antiquity is rare," the Kazakh diplomat remarked.

The ambassador said the people in the two friendly countries of Kazakhstan and Iran have little knowledge of each other.

"In Kazakhstan, few people know what is going on in Iran. Of course, people who have traveled to Iran know more or less about Iran, but I am talking about different segments of the population, so the role of the media is important here, and the media of the two countries can inform the people about what is happening in the two countries."

Elsewhere in his remarks, the diplomat said: "We have had the experience of hosting several Iranian media before, and if holding an international meeting or conference is on the agenda, we will try to send a reporter from Iran to Kazakhstan. Not only can this cover a press conference, but journalists can also exchange information with the people and official journalists of Kazakhstan."

In response to a question about choosing Sari as the tourism capital in 2022 and whether there is a plan for cooperation between the tourist city of Turkestan and Sari, the Kazakh ambassador said: "Turkestan was a small city that was upgraded to the provincial capital and its budget was increased. We are still interested in establishing relations with neighboring countries, and for this purpose, an agreement was reached with Samarkand and Bukhara."

The Kazakh diplomat added the number of trips between the two countries are low due to the Coronavirus, which is gradually increasing with the control of the virus.

"Our plan is to connect Turkestan. Maybe this city is connected to Isfahan, Shiraz, or Sari. If the governor of Mazandaran suggests, we are also interested in connecting Turkestan tourism center with Mazandaran."
 

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