August 11, 2022

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Interaction with neighbors a priority: Raisi

TEHRAN – Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi has once again reiterated his administration’s willingness to boost ties with Iran’s neighbors, noting that strengthening ties with these countries is a priority for Iran. 

Speaking in a televised interview on Saturday night, President Raisi addressed relations with neighboring countries through the prism of trade and commerce. 

Responding to a question on the policy of interaction with neighbors in the 13th Administration, he said, “The policy of interaction with neighboring countries has been one of our priorities, which has led to good results, including a positive trade balance. We have contracts worth $2.5 billion with 18 countries to export technical and engineering services.”

Referring to the launch of new rail corridors in the 13th Administration, the president said, “Iran’s share in trade and transit in the region is very high and the relationship with the member countries of the Shanghai Organization, BRICS and ECO in this regard is very important for us. We are just at the beginning of the road and only in the first quarter of this year we have had a 20% growth in trade. In the field of trade with neighboring countries and the region, we must achieve a share that suits the dignity of the Iranian nation.”

Raisi added, “In the field of oil exports, despite the threats and sanctions of the enemy, we are in good condition today and, God willing, we will have better conditions ahead,” according to a readout of the interview put out by the official website of the Iranian presidency.

Asked about European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s visit to Tehran and the latest state of negotiations for lifting sanctions, the president said, “I have stated from the beginning that we will pursue the lifting of sanctions, because sanctions are cruel and should be lifted as soon as possible. The Americans did not fulfil their obligations, they violated the treaty, and I have repeatedly stated that the Americans must return to fulfilling their obligations.”

Raisi added, “The second path we have followed since the beginning of the government’s work is the path of neutralizing sanctions. We have a base and headquarters in the government headed by the first vice-president and many colleagues across the country with whom we are pursuing the task of neutralizing sanctions as well as lifting them.”

He also described the adoption of an anti-Iran resolution by the IAEA Board of Governors drafted by the United States and its European allies as very inappropriate, saying, “The fact that in the middle of the negotiations some propose that the Board of Governors issue a resolution against the Iranian nation, especially in conditions that all necessary cooperation was done with the agency, it was very inappropriate and we announced that it would disrupt the negotiation process.”

Regarding Borrell’s talks in Tehran, Ayatollah Raisi said Iran has no plans to shut down the talks, noting, “Respectful positions and respectful negotiations to pursue the wishes of the great nation of Iran, which is the use of its own rights, are pursued by the government and were also emphasized in the meetings we had with Mr. Borrell.”

In response to a question about whether he had promising news about foreign trade, international relations and new investment in the country, the president said, “We have said that the work of fair distribution of subsidies in the process of economic reform is a preliminary step. We must take steps towards economic growth. Economic growth has two main pillars, an increase in investment, and increase in productivity.”

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