Iran Fosters Closer Ties With Southeast Asian States

Iran Fosters Closer Ties With Southeast Asian States Iran Fosters Closer Ties With Southeast Asian States

A senior diplomat said the eastern countries have the potential to be Iran's top trading partners in the future, describing the importance of an ongoing presidential tour of.

Director General of Foreign Ministry's Asia and Pacific Bureau Mahmoud Farazandeh made the statement on Sunday.

Farazandeh, who is a member of the delegation accompanying President Hassan Rouhani in the trip, also told IRNA that the West and the East are two centers of economic power.

"The West is the hub of business and industrial management that has technology and the East is the hub of production, mobility and innovation," he said.

Rouhani embarked on a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia on Wednesday, which took him to Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, some Cabinet members and other government officials are also present in the delegation.

Farazandeh said the lifting of international economic sanctions on Iran, under its nuclear deal with world powers, has unleashed immense potential for the expansion of Iran's economic collaboration with Southeast Asian countries.

  Top Requirement

The diplomat said the development of bilateral banking links is a top requirement for smoothing the way for greater economic ties with the three Southeast Asian countries.

Farazandeh said it was a hot topic of discussion with Vietnamese and Malaysian officials, and efforts were to continue in Thailand.

"In Vietnam, a good deal was clinched," he said, pointing to an agreement between the Central Bank of Iran and the State Bank of Vietnam to establish correspondent relations and avoid banks of third-party countries, to enable the two countries to augment bilateral trade from the current $390 million to $2 billion a year.

On political dimensions of the presidential tour, Farazandeh said meetings between Rouhani and his counterparts could be used to help the two sides exchange views and reach a better understanding of each other's positions regarding major developments of their respective regions, including Iran's efforts to battle terrorism and promote understanding in West Asia.

The diplomat said this can prepare the ground for greater coordination between Iran and the three countries in the international arena.

Rouhani arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday and had a two-day stay, where he held a meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.

Rouhani then traveled to Malaysia on Friday and met Prime Minister Najib Razak on the same day.

The Iranian president then headed to Thailand on Saturday on his last stop and a day later discussed bilateral relations with Thai premier, Prayut Chan-o-cha.

While in Thailand, Rouhani was also to attend the second summit of Asia Cooperation Dialogue and address the event, which takes place from Oct. 8-10 titled "One Asia, Diverse Strength".

The 34-member ACD, which was established in 2002 in Thailand, is the first continent-wide forum in Asia.


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