Negotiations with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

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The meeting between Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took place in Tehran on 13 March.

The venue for the meeting is Saadabad palace. The negotiations between the Presidents were preceded by an official welcome ceremony. Ebrahim Raisi greeted Aleksandr Lukashenko at the entrance to the residence. After shaking hands, the heads of state took a seat on the podium.

Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ebrahim Raisi listened to the anthems and watched the march-past of the guards of honor and proceeded to the venue of negotiations. By tradition, the Presidents held talks one-on-one first and then were joined by other members of the delegations.

“When I gave you a lot of credit for progress in bilateral relations, especially in the last two years, I did not do that just to flatter you. To be honest, our focus, and in particular, my focus on Iran somewhat weakened at some point. I often think about this and assume that we were meant to live through this period, a period of a less intense relationship. Yet, during this period we realized how much we needed each other, how closely we should cooperate in this world,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

The President of Iran, in turn, noted that Belarus-Iran relations have been developing consistently. Yet, the last two years saw a real breakthrough. “Undoubtedly, your visit to Iran will give a serious impetus to the bilateral relations,” said Ebrahim Raisi.

At the extended negotiations the Belarusian head of state, first of all, the Belarusian head of state thanked his Iranian counterpart for the hospitality and warm welcome extended to the Belarusian delegation. “An old Iranian proverb says: A friend is God’s blessing. I believe that I am visiting my friends. I am happy to pay another visit to Tehran, the capital of present-day Iran, the cradle of one of the most commercially and culturally advanced civilizations; trade routes had passed through its territory long before America was discovered,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

“In modern terms, your ancestors knew about logistics, exports, transit much more than those who have been strangling your country with sanctions for more than forty years trying to impose the so-called democratic values. They apparently forgot that every nation has its own values that stem from their culture, way of life, upbringing, religion, and these values must be reckoned with. This is the guarantee of peaceful coexistence. Forgetting about this leads to wars,” the President stressed.

This is Aleksandr Lukashenko’s third visit to Iran. “During my every visit I see the tenacity with which your people resist external pressure and attempts to impose someone else’s will and I have a great respect for that and for your achievements in the field of advanced technology and nuclear energy. And, as we have agreed with the President of Iran today, we can be very useful to each other if we truly join our efforts,” the Belarusian leader said.

“The experience of my communication with the former Presidents of Iran and the negotiations that we have had suggest that the ongoing visit is remarkable as it will offer an opportunity to reach a new stage of our cooperation. And this cooperation will be highly efficient. I make such assumptions based on the agreements that we have already reached,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Following the talks in Tehran, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ebrahim Raisi signed a roadmap of comprehensive cooperation between the countries for 2023-2026.

During the meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko assured that Minsk will do everything necessary to implement the agreements. "You can rely on us," the head of state stressed.

The roadmap provides for comprehensive cooperation between Belarus and Iran in the political, economic, consular, scientific and technological avenues and also in education, culture, art, media and tourism.

"I am pleased that we have similar positions and approaches to many issues on the international agenda. The main thing is that Belarus and Iran are committed to the idea of building a fair multipolar world," the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the last time he visited Iran was 17 years ago. "I must state that no sanctions, no pressure could stop the movement of the Iranian people towards ensuring their independence and security," he stressed.

"We took stock of our relations. The Iranian President and I concurred that there was a certain short pause in our relations. The current visit shows that we have successfully reversed this pause and agreed on a lot of things. The visit is special also because we came to terms, for the first time, on all issues of bilateral cooperation and concluded many treaties, agreements and memorandums of intent," the Belarusian leader said.

"I can estimate the current visit at about $100 million if we implement all our agreements," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"The Iranian President and I agree that sanctions are a time of opportunities. It is very important for us not to harness them," the head of state emphasized.

The President noted that on 18 March 2023 Belarus and Iran will celebrate a landmark event - the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. “This is a good occasion to significantly upgrade our cooperation, after all we have every opportunity to do so. And today President Raisi and I have taken advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

“We absolutely trust each other. Our peoples support us in this. We have welcomed significant progress in bilateral trade last year, a three-fold increase over 2021. However, we believe that this lags far behind the potential of the two states,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that the two countries failed to implement some of the agreements, although the parties were on the same page on many things and had a clear understanding of the situation. “Therefore, in the current conditions, it is of fundamental importance to cement our ties, expand contacts and implement all the agreements reached, without delay or red tape,” the President stressed.

Cooperation in science and technology deserves special attention. The existing developments should pave the way for closer collaborations and should be translated into promising commercial projects.

“We will cooperate in all areas, including in the humanitarian sphere, which is one of the main areas of cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Belarus and Iran also intend to strengthen inter-parliamentary contacts.

“I am sure that the road map signed today (a comprehensive cooperation plan), as well as agreements and commercial contracts, will help promote a long-term partnership,” the President of Belarus said.

He thanked his Iranian counterpart for his hospitality, and wished the people of Iran peace and prosperity. Aleksandr Lukashenko also invited Ebrahim Raisi to visit Minsk at a convenient time.

Following the official negotiations, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ebrahim Raisi have visited an exhibition of Iran’s healthcare products and advanced scientific solutions.

The exhibition showcased healthcare products and new solutions by Iran’s leading manufacturers and research centers. The heads of state jointly examined the exposition.