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Iran seeks greater cooperation with BD for mutual economic gains

49Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday sketched out ways and means how Bangladesh and Iran can move ahead together through a greater collaboration in a number of areas, including energy and trade areas, ensuring mutual economic gains.

Wrapping up his brief but ‘important’ visit to Bangladesh which was less than 24 hours, Javad Zarif told reporters at a crowded press conference at a city hotel that both the countries might have agreements in the areas of removing double-taxation, customs cooperation and easing visas for officials and diplomatic passport holders apart from cooperation in the energy sector once the sanctions imposed on Iran are lifted soon, UNB reports.

Iranian Ambassador in Dhaka Abbas Vaezi was also present.

“These are the areas which can help boost trade between the two countries apart from forming joint chambers and business teams,” he added.

He mentioned that State Minister for Energy M Nasrul Hamid will visit Iran soon and discussing how Iran can provide energy to Bangladesh. Foreign Minister AMA Muhith will also visit Iran soon to attend a Joint Economic Commission meeting.

“Iran is a reliable source of energy, particularly for any friendly country, we’ll be discussing with our Bangladeshi friends about this. We believe this will be possible now with the removal of the sanctions. We’re seeking and exploring the possibilities of energy cooperation,” he said.

It was impossible to provide energy to Bangladesh in the past because of the financial sanctions on Iran, he added.

Responding to a question, the Iranian Foreign Minister said they are expecting a date at the end of November or in December this year to see the stage set for lifting sanctions on Iran.

“We believe that the timeframe of lifting the sanctions will depend on a number of steps need to be taken by both sides. If everything goes according to the plan, we believe that before the end of November everything should be ready for lifting all sanctions,” he said adding that December is the latest they want to see that.

Javad Zarif said once the two countries have the Joint Economic Commission, there will be possibilities and the trade flow will flourish once the two countries will have mutual visits, including by the business community, benefiting both the countries.

Responding to a question in cooperation in the manpower sector, the Iranian Foreign Minister said they have a very strong workforce and huge skilled ones in Iran but are not fully employed. He, however, said they will be looking towards friendly countries if they need people in specialised sectors like health and others.

Explaining why he came to brief Bangladesh, the Iranian Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is an extremely important country for Iran as it stood for Iran in international forums. “Bangladesh supported us in the course of our struggle.”

Javad Zarif also talked about cooperation on combating extremism and said they will look into how they work together but this is something both need to explore through appropriate mechanism.

“We believe that the policies of the United States in dealing with extremism are not serious and we believe they are based on double standard,” he said responding to another question.

He said there are many causes behind the rise of extremism and the absence of democratic rules is one cause.

Economic deprivation, abuse of religious values, being misinformed, lack of education about real Islam and trying to suppress the religious feelings are also the reasons behind these, he added. “You see some of these extremists come from very democratic system.”

Earlier Bangladesh leadership expressed the optimism that implementation of the nuclear agreement between Iran and global superpowers would contribute towards peace, stability and the wellbeing of people in the region and beyond.

They also hoped that the agreement would bring dynamism into the Iranian economy and would create new opportunities for trade and investment for Bangladesh, said a Foreign Ministry media release.

Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, met President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier in the day.

The Iranian Foreign Minister briefed them on different aspects of the nuclear deal concluded between Iran and E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union) in July 2015, particularly the future course of action for implementation of the deal.

Both the President and the Prime Minister congratulated the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseini-Khameini and President Hassan Rouhani as well as the Iranian people for concluding the nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister had a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and briefed him on the nuclear deal.

He reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to implementation of the Agreement and sought Bangladesh’s support in this regard.

Terming the deal a “historic and landmark,” the Bangladesh Foreign Minister stated that the agreement has proved once again the paramount importance of dialogue and diplomacy in resolving disputes through the peaceful process.

Both the Foreign Ministers agreed to enhance and deepen bilateral relations for mutual benefit of the two peoples.

Iranian Foreign Minister expressed his country’s willingness to improve cooperation with Bangladesh through exchange of visits both in private and public sectors.

During the discussion, trade and investment, energy, science and technology, culture and education, shipbuilding, blue economy and tourism sectors were identified as potential areas of enhanced cooperation between the two countries.

Javad Zarif arrived here on Tuesday night on a brief visit to discuss bilateral issues and brief Bangladesh leaderships on the nuclear deal signed between Iran and global superpowers recently.