Iran turned threats, sanctions into opportunity: President Raeisi
Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi says the Islamic Republic has turned the threats posed by unilateral sanctions into an opportunity to make significant progress.
Raeisi made the remarks during a press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko after they met at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran on Monday.
“Iran has created an opportunity from the sanctions enforced on the country, and we have made remarkable progress despite the threats. We are ready to share our experiences with our friend Belarus,” Raeisi said.
He said both Iran and Belarus oppose unilateralism and that is the way to neutralize sanctions and make a progress.
Lukashenko arrived in Tehran on Sunday at the invitation of President Raeisi.
During their joint press conference, Raeisi also said that the two countries have had relations for three decades and the ties between them have deepened during the current administration.
“Both countries are determined to improve their relations and trade,” he said. “The economic relations between Iran and Belarus are not comparable to the past.”
Raeisi also said that Iran and Belarus signed agreements in sectors such as industry, mine, trade, and agriculture today, expressing hopes that the agreements pave the way for improved bilateral relations.
“We are determined to promote our regional and trans-regional relations with Belarus and had fruitful negotiations with the Belarusian president,” Raeisi said.
He added that Iran and Belarus can enhance bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
Lukashenko also said: “It is a fact that no sanctions and pressure could stop Iran from progressing and a strong Iran continues to progress. Many documents were signed today, if we implement all of them, we can increase the trade between the two countries to 100 million.”
“Sanctions are opportunities and two countries should not miss these opportunities,” the Belarusian president added.
“The positions of the two countries are similar in international and regional issues, and both want a just and multipolar world,” he noted.
Lukashenko also invited the Iranian president to Minsk.
Last month, the Belarusian president expressed his desire to travel to Tehran to discuss bilateral issues and current international and regional issues.
“Since Iran has shown rapid economic and welfare growth in today’s complex conditions, this country is considered an important player in the region and the international arena,” he said in a February 11 message to Raeisi on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Belarus is a member of the EAEU, an international, Russia-led economic union that plans to enter into a free trade arrangement with Iran.
Iran has been in a preferential trade agreement with the EAEU since 2019. The two sides have held five rounds of free trade negotiations in recent months.
The SCO, set up in 2001, works as a counterweight to Western organizations that are hostile to countries such as Iran. Iran’s recent accession to the SCO has facilitated diverse cooperation in different areas with its member states, including China.
Belarus has been a dialogue partner of the SCO since 2010 and has the status of an observer at the organization since 2015. The procedure for the admission of the country to the SCO membership was initiated in 2022.