TEHRAN, Dec. 22 (Press Shia Agency) – Iran has always considers a balanced approach to all countries and geographical regions and in addition to fostering ties with neighboring and Muslim countries, which has always been among the priorities of the country’s foreign policy, the reinforcement of all-out ties with East European countries, has always been on the agenda of Tehran.
Following the implementation of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), foreign countries are very keen to reestablish ties with the Islamic Republic.
The recent visits of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Lebanon and three East European countries, which are considered to enter the European Union for Iran, are considered as the top of the country foreign policy developments last week.
The present high-profile trip by Zarif is going to well serve as evidence to the decisive role Iran has in promoting ties with East European countries.
Zarif’s Historical Visit to Lebanon
As the first high ranking foreign political figure to visit Beirut after the election of Michel Aoun as the new president following a long political stand-off in the country, Zarif started his four-leg tour on Nov 7, heading to Lebanon prior visiting Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Iranian officials have always attached great importance to expansion of all-out cooperation with Lebanon and also believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran could reach African markets through Lebanon as that country affects all economic activities in Africa.
While in Lebanon, Zarif held several meetings with a number of senior Lebanese officials including the president, the prime minister, the parliament speaker as well as the Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah during his two-day stay there. During the meetings, he discussed regional issues as well as bilateral relations with the Lebanese politicians.
The Iranian foreign minister also attended a gathering on Iran-Lebanon economic opportunities as he was leading a top 30-member economic delegation to the country.
Outlining the outcomes of his conversations with Lebanese officials, he said he was optimistic about the prospect of ties with Lebanon because he saw relations with Beirut as beneficial to both nations as well as the whole region.
He also said Iran is keen on cooperation with the Lebanese incumbent government and the next government due to be formed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, adding the Zionist regime and extremism posed threats to Iran and Lebanon.
Zarif also conferred with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the regional disputes, underlying the necessity to expand cooperation between the two countries in new era after election of President Aoun.
Expansion of Tehran-Bucharest Cooperation
From Lebanon, the foreign minister flew to Bucharest, Romania, where he signed two documents on mutual cooperation with his counterpart.
Zarif also explored ways of promoting all-out bilateral relations during meetings with a number of top Romanian officials including President Klaus Iohannis, Speaker Florin Iordache and Prime Minister Dacian Julien Ciolos.
In a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart, Zarif said US has to stay faithful to its commitments towards the JCPOA advising the US president to understand the real meaning of today’s world and try to go in harmony with international developments.
Zarif said it is customary with Iran not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.
When in Romania, Zarif commented on the election of Donald Trump as the new American President, saying the results took many by surprise because they were to face the realities of the world and realized that contrary to their assumptions political apparatus were no longer able to determine the future.
According to Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIR), the level of commercial exchanges between Romania and Iran were standing at 166.6 million euros on October 2015.
Call for Expansion of Iran-Slovakia Relations
Arriving in Slovakia from Romania, he held meetings with ranking officials and attended the Iran-Slovakia economic and trade meeting.
Talking to Slovakian President Andrej Kiska, the two sides reviewed ways for expansion of mutual cooperation, the political and economic ties in particular.
Slovakia is a country that could boost its share in Europe’s economy after its detachment from Czech Republic on the basis of the growth and development of small and medium-sized companies to big and multinational companies.
Speaking to his Slovakian counterpart Miroslav Lajcak, Zarif stressed that the large economic entourage accompanying him demonstrate the will of both the public and private sectors in Iran to develop ties with Slovakia.
Lajcak also said that bilateral relations between Iran and Slovakia have been good from the very beginning, adding since his visit to Iran in 2015 everything tends to be promising and improving.
He also voiced his readiness to enhance Slovakian embassy’s operations in Iran, especially the mission’s economic operations, and said that there are plenty of opportunities for economic cooperation between the two nations.
Promoting investments and banking cooperation were among other fields for bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Bratislava, Lajcak said.
Slovakia’s economic growth rate this country lies within European standards and Bratislava as Slovakia’s capital is the sixth rich island of the Europe.
Iran Keen on Fostering Ties with Czech Republic
Heading to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, as the last leg of his East European tour, Zarif conferred with political officials on regional crises especially situation in Syria, fighting terrorism and ties with the European Union and discussed expanding trade and economic relations between the two countries in such areas as energy, banking and tourism.
In a joint conference with his Czech counterpart, he stressed the need for all parties to abide by their commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Iranian foreign minister described the deal as an important international deal which came as the end of successful diplomatic process.
He also signed documents with the Czech officials on bolstering political exchanges.
It goes without saying that more engagement between Iran and East European countries is going to guarantee peace and stability in the European continent, as well.
Without doubt, Zarif’s East European tour would be considered as a turning-point in development of Iran’s political and economic relations with Europe.
At a time when world’s doors are open to Tehran after the landmark nuclear deal, a suitable opportunity has been provided for consolidation of relations between Iran and the East European states.
Indisputably, the consolidation of relations between Iran and East Europe would mark a new chapter in Iran’s further prosperity.