German-Iran Ties Will Benefit Int’l Community

German-Iran Ties Will Benefit Int’l CommunityGerman-Iran Ties Will Benefit Int’l Community

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says closer economic collaboration between Iran and Germany, apart from benefiting the two nations, is also in line with the interests of the international community.

"The presence of German firms and financial institutions and banks in Iran ... will benefit the two nations and promote stability across the world," he said. "Our cooperation will not harm anybody."

He made the remarks in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin after a meeting late Wednesday, IRNA reported. The Iranian minister said the two sides, which have had strong ties for decades, have overcome a difficult phase in bilateral ties.

Zarif was referring to the removal of the international sanctions that damaged Tehran-Berlin bilateral trade for more than a decade.

"Today, we have put that problem (sanctions) behind and are very optimistic about the future," he said.

For long years before the sanctions were imposed, Germany was Iran's largest trade partner. But the tightening of sanctions harmed Tehran's trade with Berlin and other western capitals.

However, the July 2015 historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers marked a major departure. Now the European power is eager to regain its pre-sanctions stature in Iranian market, and Tehran is eager for German investment and technology.

"Iran, as an advanced country, could be a top partner for Germany in trade, economy and politics in the Middle East," Zarif said.

  Common Perspective

The foreign minister said the two countries share "a very close view" on ways to promote security in West Asia.

"We believe that extremism will not be confined to a specific area. It is a threat against all of us", he said, pointing to Europe's refugee crisis as a product of the spread of extremism in West Asia.

Germany has been hit hard by waves of refugees, many of them fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2015, an unprecedented 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in the country.

"Fighting extremism needs global resolve," he said, adding that military engagement is a part of the battle and a broader campaign that includes cultural and social development is crucial to eliminate the scourge.  

Zarif also touched on regional conflicts, stressing the need for more efforts by the global community to help find political solutions to the problems. "We are interested in ... more discussion with the European Union and its important members like Germany on Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Lebanon."

Steinmeier said his government wants stronger ties with Tehran, not only in politics and economy, but also in cultural and social domains.

The senior German official said the two countries are concerned about stability and territorial integrity of war-ravaged states in the region, particularly Iraq and Syria.

"In future we will talk about Iraq and Syria, to help find a solution to their conflicts."