Iran, Belarus sign roadmap to bolster cooperation

Iran, Belarus sign roadmap to bolster cooperation

Iranian, Belarusian presidents hold talks in Tehran

By Syed Zafar Mehdi and Burc Eruygur

TEHRAN/ ISTANBUL (AA) - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Monday that Iran and Belarus have agreed on a roadmap for comprehensive cooperation that will define relations between the two countries in the future.

Raisi made the remarks at a joint press conference in Tehran with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko following delegation-level talks between the two sides.

Cooperation with Belarus "can be a way to overcome sanctions," Raisi said while expressing Tehran's readiness to develop "regional and transregional relations" with Minsk.

He said that 30 years have passed since the two countries established relations and that it is their will to "develop relations in all fields," and he hopes Lukashenko's two-day visit to Iran will be a "big step" in that direction, his office said in a statement.

The Iranian president said Tehran and Minsk could "cooperate well" through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), especially in the fields of industry, mining, trade, agriculture, and road construction.

On the sidelines of a meeting between Raisi and Lukashenko, the two countries signed seven cooperation documents and pledged to increase the volume of trade to $100 million per year.

For his part, the Belarusian president said his visit to Tehran was aimed at raising cooperation between the two countries to "a new level" that would be characterized by "maximum efficiency."

"This period is characterized by the realization of how much we need each other and how closely we must cooperate in this world," Lukashenko said.

He also criticized U.S. sanctions against Iran and praised the "tenacity" of Iranians who have suffered under the sanctions.

"I observe with great respect every time the tenacity with which your people resist outside pressure and attempts to impose someone else's will. And how you develop modern technologies and nuclear energy despite everything," he said.

"And as we agreed today with the Iranian president, we can be very useful to each other if we really combine our efforts."

On the roadmap of cooperation between the two countries, Lukashenko said it envisages "comprehensive cooperation between Belarus and Iran in the political, economic, consular, scientific and technical spheres, as well as in education, culture, art, media, and tourism," the Belarusian presidency said in a statement.

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