Forming ‘strategic partnership’ with neighbors a priority: Iran's security chief

December 13, 2021 - 21:37

TEHRAN - In a meeting with the Iranian ambassadors in neighboring and regional countries and border governors on Monday afternoon, Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani said “defusing tensions” and allaying any concerns and establishing “strategic partnership” with neighbors are among the priorities of Iran.

Shamkhani also said Iran is seeking comprehensive economic, defensive and security cooperation with neighbors.

He insisted on the need to adopt policies that would reinforce cooperation between regional countries, particularly Iran’s interaction with neighbors.

The growth of ties with neighbors should be assessed and the performance of diplomats in neighboring countries and border governors should be “measured” in this regard, Shamkhani suggested.

The security chief added it is necessary to tap all capacities to realize such a goal.

FM says border trade level insufficient 

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi also met with the ambassadors of Iran in the neighboring and regional countries as well as border governors on Sunday.

The Secretary of the Free Zones High Council, Saeed Mohammad, and the chairman of the Parliament Councils and Internal Affairs Committee, Mohammad Saleh Jokar, were also present at the meeting.

Amir Abdollahian outlined the government's foreign policy plan to activate relations with neighbors in efforts to develop trade and tourism.

The chief diplomat said that the Foreign Ministry has offices in 29 of the 31 provinces of the country, which in the past were mostly devoted to consular affairs, but now the focus of the ministry and its offices in the provinces is economic.

Unfortunately, foreign trade, especially in border areas, is not commensurate to the capacities of Iran, Amir Abdollahian remarked. 

He also asked the governors of border provinces to help remove the obstacles for trade and tourism.

At the meeting, the interior minister also referred to the importance of paying attention to neighboring countries, mentioning the many opportunities available in the region.

Vahidi expressed hope that the heads of Iran’s missions in neighboring countries and the border governors would use all the existing capacities in the region and increase mobility with a joint plan for comprehensive cooperation with neighboring countries.

For his part, Saeed Mohammad enumerated the existing capacities in the free trade zones and the neglected benefits.

In the meeting, Jokar stressed the readiness of the parliament to cooperate with the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry to promote cooperation in the field of relations with neighboring countries.

The heads of the missions of Iran in neighboring countries and border governors also expressed their views and suggestions in detail, and at the end the heads of missions in the form of working groups discussed their dealings with neighboring provinces and neighboring countries.

The new Ebrahim Raisi administration has prioritized ties with neighboring and regional countries in line with the “look to the East” policy.

Speaking in a meeting with the heads of the missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in neighboring countries, President Raisi said Tehran views as “strategic” the notion of strengthening relations with neighboring countries.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told IRIB News on Saturday that openings have taken place in some monetary and financial fields with some neighboring countries, and some openings are being pursued in the coming days.

Khatibzadeh added, “Over the last hundred days, from the beginning of President Raisi’s administration, we have practically expanded our economic relations with Tajikistan to 2.5 to 3 times more than before.” 

With regards to Turkmenistan, Iran was also able to remove the obstacles to trade exchanges in the recent visit of President Raisi to Turkmenistan, he added. 

The diplomat said Iran has 15 neighbors and the president will soon visit each one of them.

“The president's visit to each of these countries is planned and soon some of the leaders of these countries, including Turkey, will come to Tehran,” he added. 

He further stated that the Foreign Ministry has started a new mission as 20-year roadmaps and documents with neighboring countries.


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