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Leader Calls for Increased Cooperation With Uzbekistan

Iran and Uzbekistan’s historical and cultural proximity should be used toward expanding relations in different sectors, the Leader said

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called for increased cooperation with Uzbekistan to the greatest possible extent based on the interests of both states.

In a meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Saturday, he pointed to the shared historical and cultural features of the two countries, saying this proximity should be used for expanding relations in different sectors, Leader.ir reported. 

“Iran has the capability to easily connect Uzbekistan to free waters through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

The grounds for Tehran-Tashkent cooperation, however, go beyond trade and transit, according to the Leader, and can cover other sectors as well with innovation. 

Mirziyoyev arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning and was officially received by his Iranian counterpart, President Ebrahim Raisi, at the Saadabad Palace complex. 

This was a first trip by an Uzbek president to Iran in more than 20 years, which was made at the invitation of Raisi, who had traveled to the Central Asian country last September, 18 years from the last presidential visit. 

Ayatollah Khamenei said the revitalization of the two countries’ relations after a long interval is a source of delight. 

“I hope that this trip and the negotiations in Tehran will be a starting point for a better future in bilateral relations,” he said. 

The Uzbek president also described his visit as historic, saying Tashkent also regretted the pause in mutual ties. 

He expressed hope that the talks in Tehran will help both countries take giant leaps in upgrading relations to the favorable level. 

Mirziyoyev had earlier held bilateral talks with Raisi before they both attended the meeting of the high-ranking delegations. 

Following the meeting, top Iranian and Uzbek officials signed 10 memorandums of understanding for cooperation on various fields in the presence of presidents. 

The documents included agreements on preferential trade, transit and transportation, cooperation in pharmaceutical industries, standard setting and insurance, examining the possibility of creating common free zones, and executive programs for cooperation in agriculture, technology and innovation. 

Trade Target

A day earlier in Tehran, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Abbas Aliabadi and his Uzbek counterpart Laziz Kudratov discussed ways to develop bilateral ties, including a plan to increase annual bilateral trade to $1 billion.

Aliabadi told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting that appropriate infrastructure should be created for Iranian and Uzbek businesses, including better customs processes, so as to increase bilateral trade exchanges. 

The Uzbek minister highlighted “very good agreements” reached during the latest meeting of Iran-Uzbekistan intergovernmental commission in May, adding that the two countries have agreed to prepare a roadmap to reach a $1 billion worth of bilateral trade.

“A mechanism is being designed so that Iran and Uzbekistan can significantly increase the volume of their trade within next one or two years,” Kudratov said. 

The 15th meeting of the Iran-Uzbekistan Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was held in Tashkent on May 31.

The event was co–chaired by Kudratov and Iran’s Acting Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Seyyed Mehdi Niazi. 

Raisi had also traveled to Uzbekistan’s city of Samarkand in September 2022 to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.

The two countries signed 17 MoUs and cooperation agreements during that visit.

Source: Financial Tribune