Belarus, Iran sign roadmap to increase economic cooperation

The Cradle, March 13, 2023 — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Tehran saw the signing of a comprehensive roadmap agreement to increase economic cooperation in the face of western sanction.

The presidents of Iran and Belarus signed a road map to comprehensive cooperation, as both countries seek to develop closer ties in the face of western-imposed economic sanctions, Tasnim news agency reported.

Following talks in Tehran on 13 March, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed the road map to expand cooperation in the trade, transportation, and agriculture sectors, as well as regarding cultural and artistic activities.

Government ministers and ranking officials from the two countries also signed seven other cooperation agreements during the joint meetings.

Iranian President Raisi highlighted Iran’s progress in withstanding US-imposed economic sanctions and its success in turning threats into opportunities, stating, “Iran is prepared to share its experiences in this era (of sanctions) with Belarus as a friendly country.”

Raisi also expressed Iran’s intention to broaden ties with Belarus in the context of regional and international organizations, saying meaningful negotiations have been held in this regard.

Raisi added, “We can have very good cooperation by using the capacity of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union and promote such cooperation according to the common stances and interests.”

The Belarusian president praised Iran for making progress independently, regardless of the sanctions and international pressure it faced.

The US and EU imposed a range of sanctions on Belarus, banning exports including tobacco products, potash, mineral fuels, and products made of wood, steel, and rubber. The sanctions followed Belarus’ support for Russia’s February 2022 military intervention in the Ukrainian civil war, which began in 2014.

The sanctions also prohibit transactions with Belarus’s central bank, place limits on financial inflows, and ban the use of the SWIFT payment system to five Belarusian banks.

Lukashenko stated that the implementation of all bilateral agreements will allow Belarus and Iran to increase the value of trade between the two countries to $100 million.

He also stated that Belarus and Iran share views on regional and international issues, as they both favor fairness and multilateralism in the world.

Both Iran and Belarus have been targets of US-backed regime change efforts, known as color revolutions, in previous years. After Lukashenko’s 2020 election victory, a US-backed color revolution was attempted, while Iran was targeted in 2009 by a color revolution which US President Barack Obama ultimately called off, and again in the fall of 2022, following the death in police custody of the young woman, Mahsa Amini.

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