Iran ramps up neighborhood diplomacy

TEHRAN, Jul. 02 (MNA) – Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raeisi gave a new boost to his administration’s policy of cementing ties with Iran’s neighbors as part of the country’s new foreign policy agenda.

President Raeisi had a busy weekend in terms of holding meetings with foreign leaders. He left Tehran on Wednesday for Ashgabat to attend an important regional summit held in Turkmenistan’s capital.

He met with a number of foreign leaders on the sidelines of the 6th summit of the Caspian Sea littoral states, which provided him with a unique opportunity to advance his “neighborhood policy”. It marked a new orientation in Iran’s foreign policy which is aimed at strengthening ties with neighbors. 

President Raeisi visited Turkmenistan with a clear goal in mind: further advancing the neighborhood policy. In his meeting with the Chairman of the People's Council of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Raeisi said his administration “has a special program in the field of foreign policy to develop neighborly relations, and Iran-Turkmenistan relations are expanding rapidly based on extensive cooperation and mutual trust.”

He reiterated this in his meeting with Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, saying that his administration “attaches a special priority to develop relations and cooperation with neighbors”.
President Raeisi pointed out that the relations between Tehran and Ashgabat are expanding rapidly based on the development of neighborly relations and on the basis of mutual trust and extensive cooperation.

Raeisi also addressed the Caspian Sea summit, where he underlined Iran’s sincerity in its quest for building better relations with its neighbors. He described this as a strategy of Iran.

“The interaction of the Islamic Republic of Iran with its friends and neighbors is original, and this interaction and cooperation not only will lead to economic prosperity and increase the welfare of our nations, but also strengthen regional peace and stability and solve the problems of the Caspian Sea zone merely through its coastal countries. This major strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue, regardless of international developments,” Raeisi said. 

This policy was initiated a year ago when President Raeisi assumed office in August 2021. Back then he expressed his administration’s strong desire for fostering cooperation with neighboring countries. To this end, the Raeisi administration has made great strides. In the early days of his administration, Raeisi succeeded in ironing out Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Interestingly, the SCO membership was achieved during a summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. 

Iran is now eyeing a similar membership in the BRICS group of emerging countries which includes Russia, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa.  President Raeisi was invited by China to address the recent BRICS summit. Russia and China have voiced support for Iran’s membership in the group. 

The Raeisi administration is pursuing regional diplomacy simultaneously with its efforts to hammer out a deal with the West over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. The latest round of talks in this regard was held in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Republished from Tehran Times

News Code 188662

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