At a time when world’s doors are open to Tehran after the landmark nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), a suitable opportunity has been provided for consolidation of relations between Iran and the regional states.
Indisputably, the consolidation of relations between Iran and Asian states, especially regional economic powers, would mark a new chapter in Iran’s further prosperity.
In an indication of fostering ties between Iran and regional countries, Asian in particular, President Hassan Rouhani launched his three-nation East Asian tour early October 5 aimed at enhancing relations with the southeastern Asian states.
President Rouhani’s visits to Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand started on October 5 with his arrival in Hanoi. As the government of President Rouhani has so far been playing a pivotal role in promoting mutual relations between Tehran and other countries of the world, the visit would pave the ground for more cooperation between Iran and the southeastern Asian states.
During his visit to Hanoi, he held talks with President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong.
Two agreements on IT and removal of visa for special and service sectors appliers were also signed during Rouhani's visit to the country. The two countries also agreed to hold Joint Iran-Vietnam Commission in Tehran soon.
Other agreements on boosting economic, banking, financial, tourism and commercial cooperation were also inked during the trip.
Expansion of Iran-Vietnam Trade
President Rouhani believes that his visit to Vietnam would be considered as a turning point for Tehran-Hanoi relations.
In a meeting, President Rouhani and his Vietnamese counterpart agreed to raise the value of mutual transactions to more than two billion dollars and pave the way for the central banks of the two countries to sign a deal for promotion of banking relations.
As long as Iran and Vietnam enjoy ‘very close’ stances on certain key international issues, President Rouhani stressed that “Tehran and Hanoi are seeking peace and stability for the Middle East and East Asia regions.”
Citing Vietnam as “a strong nation who opposes foreign aggression, favors independence, supports developments and is hardworking,” Iranian President said both sides believed that there are very extensive grounds for bilateral economic and commercial relations, especially in the field of investment, and their economies can be complementary to each other.
According to President Rouhani, there is “a very good opportunity available” in the field of energy for export of oil, LNG and petrochemicals from Iran to Vietnam, tourism, parliamentary domain, exchange of professors and students, technology, water transfer, road and highway construction, technical and engineering services, culture and modern industries and Vietnamese companies are ready to invest in the Iranian oil and gas projects.
Promotion of Peace
Voicing Vietnam's supports from President Rouhani’s WAVE initiative for elimination of extremism and violence at the international level, he added Iran and Vietnam support promotion of peace both at regional and international levels.
Dai Quang also hoped that Tehran and Hanoi would cooperate for establishment of peace and peaceful settlement of differences in the region and for restoring peace which is a requisite for economic development.
Tehran-Hanoi Visa Waiver Program
Iran and Vietnam also have signed an agreement for lifting visa issuance for special and servicing purposes as holders of such passports will have no problem with visiting in either country.
The document was signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and his Vietnamese counterpart Phạm Bình Minh.
The two countries established relations in 1973 and since then the two countries have increased political and economic cooperation through exchange of visits by senior officials from both sides.
Iran opened an embassy in Hanoi in 1991 and Vietnam opened its embassy in Tehran in 1997.
Following up Previous Mutual Agreements
In a meeting between President Rouhani and Phuc, the two sides agreed to follow up the agreements previously inked between the two capitals.
Rouhani underscored that reinforcement of relations with Southeast Asian countries, and specifically Vietnam, has always been a top priority for Iran.
Iran believes that Vietnam could become a base for Iran’s trade activities in the region. To the same effect, the Iranian president added, Vietnam can access a market of 400 million people through Iran.
Rouhani said the removal of sanctions against Iran has already prepared the grounds for the two countries to enhance their economic ties. He added that Tehran and Hanoi need to strengthen their banking relations first in order to facilitate any step toward the expansion of commercial relations.
Phuc, for his part, emphasized that his country is determined to increase the level of trade with Iran to above $2 billion.
He added that Hanoi wants to expand relations with Iran in all areas and that it is prepared to move toward the establishment of a mutual free trade mechanism between the two countries.
Successful Mutual Cooperation
President Rouhani in a meeting with Fu Trong described the broadening of mutual cooperation between Iran and Vietnam as successful.
The Iranian president reiterated that the grounds are properly paved for the further expansion of relations between the two countries, especially in the post-sanctions era which expedite the deepening of economic cooperation.
President Rouhani said that broadening of cooperation between the Iranian and Vietnamese private sectors, especially in energy, modern technologies, banking, agriculture and fishery fields is being heeded to.
He underlined the need for developing banking relations in pace with political and economic relations, and said, 'Preferential trade and then free trade can create good grounds for bringing about economic development in the interest of the two nations and the region.