0117 GMT December 12, 2019
“Perhaps if the sanctions did not exist, we would not dedicate so much time and energy to regional issues and our neighbors,” said the Iranian minister who has led Iran’s efforts to expand trade relations with countries to the north, especially in the Eurasia region, Press TV reported.
The comments come as Tajikistan is trying to secure Iran’s technical and financial support for construction of a major hydroelectric dam in the country.
Estimates suggest that Tajikistan possesses around 15 percent of global hydroelectric capacity.
The country is hoping that Iran, a country known for its massive electricity industry, could be of great help in the construction of projects that could both respond to the domestic demand and facilitate exports to neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Ardakanian insisted that growing energy cooperation with countries in the Central Asia region was effectively a byproduct of the American sanctions.
“Despite all difficulties and hardships that sanctions have created, they have had the benefit and the advantage that we have ... collaborated more actively with neighbors and countries in the region to make optimum use of opportunities and resources,” he said.