Domestic Economy

Belarus President Calls for Joint Ventures With Iran

Belarus President Calls for Joint Ventures With Iran
Belarus President Calls for Joint Ventures With Iran

The situation in the world prompts Belarus and Iran to look for new forms of cooperation, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said in a meeting with Iran’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belarus Saeed Yari.
Reviewing cooperation with Iran, the Belarusian head of state noted that the results could have been much bigger, but everything that has been done during the ambassador's term in office will pave the way for closer bilateral relations in the future, BelTA reported on Tuesday. 
“Of course, as I have said, we could have done more, but the situation in the world and around Iran and Belarus, fortunately, makes us get closer and look for those forms of cooperation that could benefit us the most,” the Belarusian president said.
Lukashenko assessed the level of bilateral trade as normal, but noted that he would like to see it “more multifaceted”. 
“We need to advance from simple trade to cooperation. We need to create joint production facilities in Iran and Belarus,” he said.
The Belarusian head of state also expressed interest in the International North–South Transportation Corridor, which is a joint project of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. This project, in particular, was discussed at the meeting of the presidents of Belarus and Russia. 
“We have a huge interest in this project,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“You see that our states and their leaderships are facing many tasks. I very much hope that your further work, including in Tehran, will contribute to the expansion of our relations. I think that you will be personally interested in this,” the president told the outgoing ambassador of Iran.
Belarus and Iran were actively promoting trade and economic cooperation in 2022. Trade exceeded $100 million, up threefold over 2021: about $101 million vs $33.3 million. At the same time, Belarusian exports to Iran soared almost sixfold - $81.3 million in 2022 vs $14 million in 2021. Belarus' major exports to Iran were potash fertilizers, goods, timber and synthetic threads. Iran's major exports to Belarus included nuts, fresh fruit, butter and vegetables.



Lukashenko’s Iran Visit

Lukashenko also announced his scheduled visit to Iran in mid-March.
“You know that I plan to visit Iran at the invitation of the Iranian president in the near future, in mid-March. We will discuss key issues of our relations. I am absolutely convinced that this will be a pivotal meeting and that the negotiations in Iran will advance our cooperation to a higher level. But the main thing is to maintain this momentum and make the most of opportunities to upgrade our relations,” the Belarusian leader said.
Talking to journalists, the Iranian ambassador emphasized that the upcoming visit of the president of Belarus is a momentous event in the history of bilateral relations. 
“During the meeting, we discussed important issues on the bilateral agenda. I told the esteemed president that everything is prepared for his visit to Iran. This visit of the head of state is of great importance for us. There will be many important issues on the political, trade and economic agenda. Relations between Iran and Belarus are now at their peak. And we are sure that the visit will give a fresh impetus to bilateral relations,” the diplomat said.
Yari emphasized that the visit of Lukashenko would take place in the runup to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries. 
The Iranian envoy noted that 2023 will be declared the Year of Friendship between Iran and Belarus.



Underutilized Potential

Ways to step up trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and Iran were also discussed during another meeting between Belarusian Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Aleksei Bogdanov and Yari.
They discussed issues of Belarusian-Iranian cooperation. 
"Cooperation between our countries has a significant potential, which has not been fully utilized. We are interested in actively working with Iran in all areas of mutual interest and are also ready to consider new promising areas of joint activity," Bogdanov said.
Special consideration was given to the need for further increasing trade and economic cooperation, including through the diversification of export commodities and the development of import-substituting manufacturing. Following the meeting, the parties reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the agreements reached, the press service reported.

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