By: H. Zadeh Qashami

Iran trade diplomacy heralds regional stability

March 12, 2022 - 9:35

TEHRAN- Since Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi took office back in August 2021, Tehran has broadened its focus on boosting ties with the regional and neighboring countries.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has international borders with 13 countries. Iran shares a total of 5,894 km of land borders with its neighboring countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. It also has a total of 2,440 km of coastline, sharing maritime borders with six other countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Given its strategic geographical location, the Islamic Republic has enormous potential for promoting and facilitating trade in the region.

High-ranking Iranian trade officials have already made several trips to the Persian Gulf states of UAE, Qatar and Oman in recent months. The visits come as part of the efforts to bolster trade diplomacy with regional countries.

In the latest round of such trips, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade Reza Fatemi-Amin visited Armenia at the top of a high-level delegation that included both Iranian officials and businessmen.

During the two-day visit, the Iranian delegation held talks with the Armenian officials on a diverse range of issues including slashing transit duties, establishing joint industrial towns, implementing infrastructure projects and joint ventures on producing home appliances and pharmaceutical products.

The value of trade volume between Iran and Armenia currently stands at nearly $360 million. Tehran and Yerevan intend to raise the bilateral trade volume to $1 billion. Iran wants to deepen trade ties with Armenia through joint venture projects.

Situated in northwestern Iran, the Republic of Armenia is a landlocked country sharing a 44 km border with the Islamic republic. Iran’s strategic geography offers a great opportunity for Armenia to access the international markets.

On the other hand, Armenia can serve as a gateway for the entry of Iran into the Eurasian markets. Armenia along with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia is a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). 

Trade relations between Iran and Armenia have dramatically expanded after Iran signed a Free Trade Agreement with the EAEU in October 2019. Armenia is home to one of the main routes of the South-North Transport Corridor.

Iran has already announced its readiness to cooperate with Armenia in the construction of a new transportation route (Kajaran-Sisian road). The 64-kilometer-long route part of the Iran-Armenia-Georgia Transportation Corridor comes as part of Iran’s bid to launch the North-South Transport Corridor.

The International North-South Transport Corridor is a 7,200-kilometer-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between Iran, India, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia, Central Asia and Europe. If implemented, the strategic route can enhance trade connectivity among the regional countries.

At the same time, Iran’s rich mineral reserves ranging from iron ore to gold plus cheap energy have always attracted interest from foreign investors. To put things in perspective, the country holds a percent of the world’s population and a massive seven percent of the total minerals in the world.

Iran is already known as the anchor of stability and security in West Asia.

Good diplomacy with the neighbors, including the expansion of trade ties with neighboring states, tops the agenda of the new Iranian government. Tehran’s innovative trade diplomacy can further promote peace and stability in the region and beyond by securing the interests of the sovereign regional states and engaging them in constructive interaction.

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