Saturday, October 28, 2023

Iran, Belarus ink cooperation roadmap during Lukashenko visit


During a state visit by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to Tehran, Iran and Belarus signed a cooperation roadmap document. The two countries have marked 30 years of official diplomatic relations, and the visit resulted in the signing of eight agreements on trade, mining, and transportation, among other things. The comprehensive roadmap outlines political and economic conditions and encompasses all areas of interest between the two countries. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi declared that Tehran has made United States and Western sanctions into opportunities for itself and is ready to share its experiences of dealing with the sanctions with “friendly” Belarus. Both countries oppose “unilateralism”, Raisi said.

Lukashenko also met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei, who stated that countries that are sanctioned by the US must work together and form a joint collective to destroy the weapon of sanctions, and he believed this was doable. Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that sanctions could be turned into an opportunity, and added that he was looking forward to expanding economic relations with Iran. The two agreed to set a target of $100m for bilateral trade this year.

The presidents did not speak during the conference about Russia, which both consider a close ally, especially following the war in Ukraine. Both have been targeted by Western sanctions, with Tehran being blamed for sending armed drones to Russia for use in the war, something it has denied.

Belarus has been ruled by Lukashenko for 30 years. In that time, he has been accused by human rights organisations of suppressing dissent, most recently sentencing an opposition leader to 15 years in prison.

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