Iran, Pakistan agree to strengthen economic ties
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that he wanted further talks with Russia about what he called the “illegal” US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Speaking at the start of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Qingdao, China, Rouhani hailed close ties between Russia and Iran.
The Iranian president hailed Russia’s role in implementing the nuclear deal as “important and constructive,” saying he would like to discuss the situation with Putin following the US withdrawal.
“Based on IAEA reports, Iran has lived up to its commitments, and after the unilateral and illegal withdrawal of the United States, Moscow played an important and constructive role in strengthening the implementation and fulfilment of obligations by the other parties.”
Rouhani said that the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement warrants an “important and serious discussion between our two countries.”
Held from June 9-10, the summit is expected to witness Russia and major Asian partners throw their support behind the Islamic Republic in the face of US pressure.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.
Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has said it would remain in the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the agreement. Tehran wants the Europeans to give it clear-cut guarantees about fulfilling their obligations if it remains in the accord.
Iran has an observer status in the SCO, and Putin said that Moscow would support full-fledged Iranian membership.
Rouhani thanked Putin for his support for Iran’s accession to the Chinese and Russian-led security bloc.
“I want to express my gratitude for your position on Iran’s accession to this organization as a full-fledged member,” Rouhani said.
Russian investment in Iran
Both presidents praised growing bilateral ties in all fields and stressed the importance of further development of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.
"Relations between the two countries are developing in the field of energy swap, defense and transit, and there are ample potentials for cooperation,” Rouhani said.
He noted that Iran welcomes Russian companies and the private sector's investment in the country.
Rouhani also hailed Russia-Iran cooperation in Syria, saying, “Our role in the region is quite significant… Iran-Russia cooperation in fighting Daesh and other terrorist groups in the region has been fruitful and this collaboration will continue.”
Russia and Iran have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, helping turn the tide of war in his favor.
JCPOA, a model for peaceful resolutions
Meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain on the sidelines of the summit, Rouhani urged international reaction against Washington’s unilateralism targeting Tehran.
He said Trump’s walkout of the nuclear deal violated international rules and regulations as well as UN Security Council resolutions. The UNSC had ratified the nuclear agreement into a resolution.
The Pakistani president called the JCPOA a model for peaceful resolution of international crises.
Hussain underscored that Pakistan and Iran enjoyed close, cordial and fraternal relations. He said Pakistan and Iran continued to support each other on issues of common interest.
Both sides stressed their resolve to deepen their economic, energy, and security relations, with Rouhani stating that Iran could be a “secure source” of energy for its neighbors.
They agreed to further fortify economic ties by enhancing people-to-people contacts, trade and connectivity between Gwadar and Chahbahar ports.
Discussing the regional situation, the two presidents emphasized that peace and stability in Afghanistan were important for both Pakistan and Iran.
Stability in Afghanistan
In meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Rouhani described a secure and stable Afghanistan as a must for regional security and development and stressed that Iran always supports peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to help establish and sustain peace and fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and will spare no effort in this regard,” Rouhani said.
He continued: “Iran is determined to deepen relations with its neighbors, especially Afghanistan, and enhance joint investments in different developmental projects, including transit infrastructures.”
President Ghani stressed that “Afghanistan considers the continuation and development of cooperation with Iran in line with its national interests,” saying, “Economic relations between the two neighboring countries should maintain the momentum.”
Ghani said, “We hope that with the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is our great neighbor and important partner in the region, the process of establishing security and progress in Afghanistan will continue.”
Speaking with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Rouhani said Tehran and Minsk should grasp all potentials and opportunities for boosting ties.
Lukashenko said his country is determined to develop relations with Tehran, adding: “Iran is a key partner for us in the region and we are determined to further promote our relations with Iran in all political and economic fields.”
Reuters, AP, Press TV, TASS, APP and president.ir contributed to this story.