TEHRAN – Last week, Iranian diplomacy made great strides in diversifying the country’s foreign relations. several important calls were made between Iran’s chief diplomat and foreign counterparts at a time when Tehran was hosting Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov arrived in Iran late on Wednesday for talks over a range of issues, most notably the enhancement of economic cooperation. Lavrov met with President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. In his meeting with Lavrov, Raisi said that the ongoing meetings and talks between the presidents and officials of Iran and Russia show the serious will of the two countries to form a new era of strategic cooperation for the two nations, including in economic fields.
Lavrov’s visit to Tehran was another indication of Iran’s willingness to boost ties with neighboring countries in line with what came to be known as “neighborhood policy,” a foreign policy agenda articulated by the Raisi administration that aims to upgrade Iran’s relations with neighboring countries and non-Western countries. To this end, the Raisi administration succeeded in ironing out Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was made possible due to backing from Russia in the early weeks of Raisi’s presidency.
Iran seems to have its eyes on BRICS. The issue of Iran cementing ties with the group of emerging economies featured high in Iran’s recent diplomatic interactions with China and Russia, the two pillars of BRICS.
In the meeting with Raisi, the Russian foreign minister appeared to be hinting at boosting Iran’s relations with BRICS. Referring to the importance of Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Lavrov stressed his country’s support for the expansion of Iran’s role-playing in regional and international organizations. In his meeting with Amir Abdollahian, Lavrov made it clear that Russia supports Iran’s cooperation with BRICS.
“Amir Abdollahian and Lavrov also held talks over boosting Iran’s cooperation with regional and international organizations and forums, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, and BRICS. The Russian foreign minister stressed his country’s support in this regard,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.
China invited President Raisi to address the BRICS summit. Amir Abdollahian spoke over the phone with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to thank him for this invitation, among other things. The call was part of diplomatic efforts undertaken over the last few days.
“Amir Abdollahian thanked China for inviting Iran’s president to attend the upcoming summit of the BRICS grouping. He welcomed China’s initiative for global development and security,” said the Iranian foreign ministry, adding, “The Iranian foreign minister expressed hope that during Beijing’s presidency at BRICS, multilateral cooperation will expand.”
Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi, for his part, welcomed the participation of President Ebrahim Raisi in the BRICS summit, saying the talks are aimed at shifting attention to emerging markets and economic solidarity among developing countries.
The Iranian foreign minister’s last week agenda also included another phone call with Omani Foreign Minister Badr Al Busaidi in which the two top diplomats exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues. In this call, the Iranian foreign minister said that Iran puts emphasis on regional dialog and cooperation and it believes that regional nations must decide the future of the region.
Iran has played host to a flurry of diplomatic visits over the last few weeks. Pakistan’s foreign minister, Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, and the speaker of the Armenian parliament paid separate visits to Iran. And on Friday night, the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, will arrive in Tehran for talks on the stalled Vienna talks over reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“I am travelling to Tehran, as coordinator of the #JCPOA, to meet my counterpart @Amirabdolahian and other relevant Iranian authorities. Diplomacy is the only way to go back to full implementation of the deal and to reverse current tensions,” Borrell said on Twitter.
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