Ayatollah Raisi wraps up visit to Turkmenistan

November 29, 2021 - 22:16

TEHRAN – Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi returned to Tehran on Sunday night after concluding a visit to neighboring Turkmenistan where he attended a regional summit and met with a number of foreign leaders.

Ayatollah Raisi arrived at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport and was received at the airport by his first-vice president, Mohammad Mokhber. 

The main reason for the visit was to attend a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) which was held at Ashgabat with the presence of the leaders of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Upon his arrival at the airport, the president said, “The presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran as one of the founders of ECO had different messages and in this meeting, all members of the regional organization emphasized the need to increase economic relations between member countries.”

He noted, “The achievements that the Economic Cooperation Organization has had so far are not enough and greater steps must be taken to develop economic cooperation.”

Referring to the bilateral meetings with the leaders of the countries participating in the ECO Summit, the president said, “The most important focus of the talks with the presidents was to use the existing capacities to develop economic and trade relations.”

Ayatollah Raisi described the developments in Afghanistan as another focus of talks with the heads of state and said, “In our talks, we emphasized the establishment of an inclusive government that can represent all ethnic groups and political groups in Afghanistan, because the establishment of such a government can both provide security for Afghanistan and eliminate its neighboring countries' concerns.”

Referring to the meeting and talks with the president of Turkmenistan, Ayatollah Raisi said, “The central issue in this meeting was the development of economic relations and solving the problem of transit and gas. These issues were resolved and the issue of transit was set to be resolved in such a way that it facilitates connections with different countries.”

He noted, “The issue of gas, which was interrupted, was also discussed and eventually led to the conclusion of a contract, and we hope that there will be no concerns in this regard after this.”

Ayatollah Raisi pointed out, “Our feeling in the meeting with the heads of state was that there are issues between the Islamic Republic of Iran and some countries, many of which were easily resolved during the meetings and talks.”

The president added, “For example, after a visit to Tajikistan and a meeting with its president, the level of trade and economic relations between Iran and Tajikistan has tripled.”

Ayatollah Raisi stressed, “Neighborhood policy of the government has worked and we must continue to insist on continuing to develop relations with neighboring countries and facilitate the activities of businesspersons and economic activists with these countries politically.”

Referring to the meeting with businesspersons, traders and entrepreneurs in Turkmenistan, Ayatollah Raisi said, “Economic activists raised their serious problems in this meeting, and in order to solve these problems, concluding a gas contract and solving the transit problem can be suitable conditions for traders and provide merchants in Turkmenistan.”

During his stint in Ashgabat, the Iranian president met with a number of his counterparts who traveled to the Caspian Sea nation to attend the ECO summit. Ayatollah Raisi met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Ashgabat. The two presidents discussed important regional issues and bilateral relations, according to the official website of the Iranian presidency.

Referring to the deep roots of civilization, culture and religion between the two nations of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ayatollah Raisi said, “The two countries have a long-standing and deep-rooted relationship and we will never allow these relations to be influenced by the enemies.”

Recalling Iran's support for Azerbaijan's independence and territorial integrity, the president said, “We do not allow insecurity and foreign interference in the affairs of countries in the region, and experience has shown that wherever countries in the region resolve their issues through understanding and negotiation, outsiders have not been able to interfere.”

Expressing concern over insecurity and the presence of outsiders in the region, he stated, “ISIL and Zionist terrorism are two threatening factors in the region and must be confronted.”

Referring to the goals of the United States and the Zionist regime to disrupt relations between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ayatollah Raisi stressed, “Foreign interference is to the detriment of the countries of the region and we must be vigilant against their conspiracy.”

Ayatollah Raisi welcomed the request of the president of Azerbaijan to strengthen economic relations between the two countries and develop transit routes with the presence of Iranian companies.

The president of Azerbaijan said, “A special work group will be formed from senior government officials to follow up and implement the agreements reached.”

In the meeting, President Aliyev praised Iran's unprecedented support for the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan and said, “Baku attaches special importance to its fraternal relations with Tehran and we will not allow any damage to happen to these relations.”

Referring to the talks and contacts between the officials of the two countries to resolve some misunderstandings between the two countries, the president of Azerbaijan stated, “We are committed to the security of the border areas and will not allow any country to disrupt bilateral relations.”

Referring to the importance of transit and road transport, he said, “We are determined to solve the problem of transit and provide the ground for the presence and activity of Iranian companies in Azerbaijan.”

Aliyev also said, “This meeting will be a turning point in relations between the two countries and we are committed to securing the regional interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Gas swap deal

At the end of the meeting, a gas swap agreement was signed.

Raisi also had meetings with his Turkish, Turkmen, and Pakistani presidents. Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan also signed a tripartite gas swap deal from Turkmenistan to the Republic of Azerbaijan through the territory of Iran.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Ayatollah Raisi and Aliyev.

According to the agreement, which was signed by the oil ministers of the two countries on Sunday night after the end of the bilateral meeting between Ayatollah Raisi and Aliyev, 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters of gas will be transported annually from Turkmenistan to the Republic of Azerbaijan through the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On Sunday, Ayatollah also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the meeting, Ayatollah Raisi said, “Iran and Turkey can bring economic and political relations closer to the strategic level by improving the current level of trade and exchanges.”

Referring to the wide and diverse areas of cooperation between Iran and Turkey in various sectors, including energy, banking and monetary issues, and trade and commerce exchanges, Ayatollah Raisi said, “We should facilitate the development of economic relations and in this regard, preferential tariffs can be reviewed.”

Emphasizing the close cooperation and relations between Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey, the president said, “The three countries have many cultural, religious and ideological commonalities, and these relations should not be allowed to be disrupted, but should be as close as possible to disappoint our common enemies.”


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