Posted: 16.03.2023 11:53:00

Minsk and Tehran signed a road map until 2026

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, made an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran on March 12th-13th. The development of interaction across the entire spectrum of bilateral relations with an emphasis on trade and economic co-operation was the main topic of the meetings in Tehran. The Presidents’ talks were held in narrow and expanded formats. The parties discussed the implementation of projects in the fields of industry, agriculture, transport and logistics. Special attention was paid to the situation in the region and in the world as a whole.

The Jomkhuri residence in the Saadabad palace and park complex was the meeting place for the Heads of State. According to the protocol, the negotiations of the Presidents were preceded by a solemn ceremony of an official meeting. 
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasised during negotiations with Ebrahim Raisi, “When I gave you a lot of credit for progress in bilateral relations, especially in the last two years, I did not do that just to flatter you. To be honest, our focus, and in particular, my focus on Iran somewhat weakened at some point. I often think about this and assume that we were meant to live through this period, a period of a less intense relationship. Yet, during this period we realised how much we needed each other, how closely we should co-operate in this world.”

The President of Iran, in turn, noted that Belarus-Iran relations have been developing consistently. Yet, the last two years saw a real breakthrough. However, the trade between the countries exceeded $33 million in 2021, an increase of more than a third compared to 2020. Over the past year, the trade increased even more significantly: in 2022, Belarus-Iran trade hit $100 million, which represented a threefold increase. 
The Head of the Belarusian State thanked his Iranian counterpart for the hospitality and warm welcome extended to the Belarusian delegation, 
“An old Iranian proverb says: A friend is God’s blessing. I believe that I am visiting my friends. I am happy to pay another visit to Tehran, the capital of present-day Iran, the cradle of one of the most commercially and culturally advanced civilisations; trade routes had passed through its territory long before America was discovered... In modern terms, your ancestors knew about logistics, exports, transit much more than those who have been strangling your country with sanctions for more than forty years trying to impose the so-called democratic values. They apparently forgot that every nation has its own values that stem from their culture, way of life, upbringing, religion, and these values must be reckoned with. This is the guarantee of peaceful coexistence. Forgetting about this leads to wars.”
This is Aleksandr Lukashenko’s third visit to Iran.
“During my every visit I see the tenacity with which your people resist external pressure and attempts to impose someone else’s will and I have a great respect for that and for your achievements in the field of advanced technology and nuclear energy. And, as we have agreed with the President of Iran today, we can be very useful to each other if we truly join our efforts. The experience of my communication with the former Presidents of Iran and the negotiations that we have had suggested that the ongoing visit is remarkable as it will offer an opportunity to reach a new stage of our co-operation. And this co-operation will be highly efficient. I make such assumptions based on the agreements that we have already reached,” the Belarusian leader said.
During a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko assured that Minsk would do everything necessary to fulfil the signed agreements.
Following the talks, the Presidents of Belarus and Iran signed a roadmap for comprehensive co-operation between the countries for 2023-2026. The document provides for the development of co-operation between Belarus and Iran in the political, economic, consular, scientific and technological avenues and also in education, culture, art, media and tourism.
“I am pleased that we have similar positions and approaches to many issues on the international agenda. The main thing is that Belarus and Iran are committed to the idea of building a fair multipolar world,” the Belarusian leader said following the talks with the President of Iran.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the last time he visited Iran was 17 years ago, “I must state that no sanctions, no pressure could stop the movement of the Iranian people towards ensuring their independence and security... 
We have thoroughly examined the current status of our relations. And the President of Iran and I came to the conclusion that the relations experienced a little setback. However, the ongoing visit has helped to successfully restart the relations. We have agreed on a lot. This visit is remarkable for one more thing: for the first time we have reached agreements on all issues of bilateral co-operation and signed many treaties, agreements and memorandums of intent... I can estimate the current visit at about $100 million if we implement all our agreements. The Iranian President and I agree that sanctions are a time of opportunities. It is very important for us not to linger.”
The President noted that on March 18th, 2023, Belarus and Iran will celebrate a landmark event — the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
“This is a good occasion to significantly upgrade our co-operation, after all we have every opportunity to do so. And today President Raisi and I have taken advantage of this opportunity. We absolutely trust each other. Our peoples support us in this. We have welcomed significant progress in bilateral trade last year, a three-fold increase over 2021. However, we believe that this lags far behind the potential of the two states,” the Belarusian leader noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that the two countries failed to implement some of the agreements, although the parties were on the same page on many things and had a clear understanding of the situation, “Therefore, in the current conditions, it is of fundamental importance to cement our ties, expand contacts and implement all the agreements reached, without delay or red tape. We will co-operate in all areas, including in the humanitarian sphere, which is one of the main areas of co-operation.”
As was emphasised, scientific and technical co-operation deserves special attention. The existing developments should become a good basis for deepening contacts and transform into promising commercial projects. Belarus and Iran also intend to strengthen co-operation through inter-parliamentary relations.
Ebrahim Raisi, in turn, said, 
“Despite the threats and sanctions that are used against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we have been able to achieve high results and transform sanctions into opportunities. We are ready to share our experience with the friendly Belarus in this regard... Good agreements have been reached in the field of industry, trade, transport and agriculture. We are confident that these agreements will be brought to fruition. The two countries are willing to develop relations in all areas without exception. Iran is also interested in developing relations with Belarus within the framework of the international organisations, in particular, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). However, we had very good, fruitful talks in this regard.”
During a meeting with media representatives following the results of the talks, the President of Iran focused on the following, “Without a doubt, the current visit of the Belarusian Head of State can become a starting point in the development of bilateral relations. The roadmap for comprehensive co-operation between Belarus and Iran will help bring our relations to a strategic level.” 
Aleksandr Lukashenko invited his Iranian counterpart to visit Minsk at a convenient time.
After the talks, the Presidents together visited an exhibition of Iran’s leading medical and scientific-innovative manufacturers. The exposition demonstrated samples of products from a number of leading Iranian medical and scientific-innovative manufacturers.

Based on materials of and
Photos by BELTA