Political Interaction Key to Economic Ties

Political Interaction Key to Economic TiesPolitical Interaction Key to Economic Ties

Iran and South Korea expressed readiness to set up a joint economic commission.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour and his South Korean counterpart Kim Hong-kyun made the announcement on the sidelines of the third meeting for political consultations in Tehran on Saturday, IRNA reported.

The two sides voiced willingness to outline a "vision" for bilateral ties as well as formulating a 10-year action plan to boost cooperation in various fields.

Commenting on South Korean officials' recent trips to Iran, Kim said, "Yoo Il-ho, minister of land, infrastructure and transport, and Yoon Sang-jick, minister of trade, industry and energy, visited Iran to help pave the way for increased collaboration between the two states."

The diplomats exchanged views on regional and international issues and emphasized the need for strengthening bilateral relations in the post-sanctions era following the recent international agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

Kim expressed hope that Iranian officials would move to create favorable conditions to facilitate Korean companies' investment in Iran.

"Korean companies can exploit their full capacities in different sectors in Iran's competitive market," Rahimpour said, reiterating that they have had a successful experience in the Iranian market.

Appreciating Iran's sincere efforts to host Afghan refugees as well its contributions to the fight against extremism, the South Korean official condemned brutal terrorist activities by the so-called Islamic State militant group in the Middle East and called for international cooperation to combat terrorism.

  Long-Standing Relationship

In a separate meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi on the same day, Kim congratulated Iran on the conclusion of the nuclear deal with world powers and called for enhancement of cultural, economic and political relations as well as increased consultations on international concerns.

Highlighting the long history of Tehran-Seoul relations, Sarmadi said, "The rise in political contacts and consultative meetings can help us explore greater cooperation and investment opportunities in new areas, especially technology transfer, resulting in improved economic ties."

According to Sarmadi, Iran has always played a constructive role in promoting peace in the region and holding bilateral discussions can be an effective strategy to identify and exploit untapped capacities in addition to promoting mutual cooperation to address international crises.

The South Korean diplomat arrived in Tehran on Friday at Rahimpour's invitation.

Seoul has assured Tehran about its intention of being a reliable trade partner. It has always remained active in Iran, including during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and in recent years after the US and its allies imposed tough sanctions against the country and many foreign companies pulled out.

Iran is currently South Korea's third biggest export partner in the Middle East with over 20 companies operating in the country.

South Korea also wants to play a crucial role in Iran's steel industry, the largest in the Middle East, as shown by extensive talks between Korean steelmaker POSCO and several Iranian firms on possible cooperation.