Chile Seeks to Share Capacities, Expertise

The historic visit by Zarif to Chile was the first by an Iranian foreign minister to the South American country, which came months after the reopening of Chile’s Embassy in Tehran
 Iranian and Chilean delegations met in Santiago on Aug. 25. Iranian and Chilean delegations met in Santiago on Aug. 25.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said her country and Iran have immense capacities and extensive experiences in various fields, which they can share and exchange.

"We are interested in developing Iran ties," she said in a meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Chilean capital Santiago on Thursday.

The minister said Iran intends to develop its political relationship with Chile, in parallel with mutual economic cooperation.

"Concurrent with expansion of political relations, we are willing to foster economic collaboration with Chile, which is why a large economic delegation came with me to Chile," IRNA quoted him as saying.

Zarif arrived in Chile on Wednesday, at the head of a 120-strong delegation comprising businessmen, economic officials and diplomats.

The historic visit was the first by an Iranian foreign minister to Chile, which came months after the reopening of Chile's Embassy in Tehran.

The Chilean diplomatic mission closed 36 years ago when Iran cut relations with Chile after Augusto Pinochet toppled the elected government of Salvador Allende in a 1980 coup.

  MoU on Political Consultations

Earlier in the day, Zarif met his Chilean counterpart, Heraldo Munoz Valenzuela, in which they signed a memorandum of understanding on political consultations.

According to the MoU, the two sides' high-ranking representatives will exchange views on bilateral relations and international developments in meetings in Tehran or Santiago, on a rotating basis, whenever necessary.

At a press conference after the meeting, Zarif said Iran believes that closer cooperation will help accelerate development of the two countries and foster stability in West Asia and Latin America.

Munoz said he held positive talks with Zarif and is very optimistic that the outcome of negotiations between the Iranian delegation and the Chilean sides will help deepen bonds of friendship among the two nations.

During his stay, Zarif also met President of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies Osvaldo Andrade Lara and some other lawmakers, and attended the opening session of an economic forum on opportunities for economic cooperation between Iran and Chile.

The South American country was the fourth destination of a six-country, six-day Latin American tour that kicked off last Sunday.

The Iranian delegation first arrived in Cuba on Sunday, travelled to Nicaragua on Monday and headed to Ecuador on Tuesday, before flying to Chile on Wednesday.

On Thursday night, Zarif left Chile for Bolivia to discuss relations and regional developments with high-ranking Bolivian officials.

The tour, which ends today, was to finally take Zarif to Venezuela.