TEHRAN -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Monday Iran has made good progress in various fields despite sanctions imposed on the country.
“Despite the sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has made good advances in various fields,” he told visiting President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon here.
“If it were not for the sanctions, those advances could not be achieved, because sanctions caused Iranians to rely on their domestic capacities and power,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the world powers use sanctions as a weapon against other countries. “What renders this weapon useless is attention to internal forces and capacities.”
The Leader also told the Tajik president that there are many potential grounds for further expansion of cooperation between the two countries to levels far above the present level.
“Relations between the two countries must undergo a major development in view of the Iranian government’s policy to strengthen ties with neighbors,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said regional issues, especially the situation in Afghanistan, offer a major ground for cooperation between Iran and Tajikistan.
“Iran and Tajikistan share concerns about Afghanistan. Both countries are worried about the spread of terrorism and growth of takfiri groups in that country,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei added, “We believe those who are now in power in Afghanistan must be able to form a comprehensive and inclusive government to take advantage of all groups.”
The Leader then touched on a recent trip to Tajikistan by chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Muhammad Baqeri and the inauguration of a manufacturing plant for Iranian drones in Tajikistan.
Ayatollah Khamenei said such cooperation between the two countries is of utmost importance. “Today, drones are an important factor in [bolstering] security of countries.”
The Leader also lauded efforts made by the president of Tajikistan to promote Persian language.
He said the fact that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s first foreign trip took him to Tajikistan proves how determined the Iranian government is about expansion of relations with Tajikistan.
“Relations have been promoted during the last year, but they are still far from the optimal point,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The president of Tajikistan, for his part, said Iran and his country have common security concerns, especially about Afghanistan and spread of terrorism.
“We want peace and tranquility in Afghanistan and a government representing all ethnic groups, and hope that such concerns could be overcome through further enhancement of security cooperation between Iran and Tajikistan,” he said.
Earlier, President Raisi said Iran and Tajikistan share common views on regional issues and agree on the need for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the region as they will not ensure the establishment of security and stability there.
“We believe that the presence of foreigners in the region has not and
will not provide security in any way,” he said in a joint news conference with President Rahmon.
The Iranian president said regional countries need to resolve their issues through dialog, adding that “the presence of foreigners in the region is not helpful”.
Raisi also called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, which would represent all political groups and ethnicities there, stating that Tehran and Dushanbe attach great significance to the security of Afghanistan.
“Security, stability, and tranquility must be established for the Afghan people. The presence of terrorists in Afghanistan is very worrying, and we can accept the presence of terrorists neither in Afghanistan nor anywhere else in the region.”
Raisi said, ““We believe that foreigners and agents affiliated to the global arrogant powers are nurturing Daesh group in the region in pursuit of their own political goals and interests.”
“The presence of the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan for 20 years has yielded nothing other than war, bloodshed, and destruction. The future of Afghanistan must be decided by the people of the country itself.”
Raisi went on to say that Tehran and Dushanbe share common views on the fight against narcotics, terrorism, and organized crime, expressing hopes that bilateral cooperation would contribute to the establishment of security in the region.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Raisi said the trade volume between Iran and Tajikistan has increased fourfold and that the two countries are determined to expand their political, economic, trade, and cultural relations, as well as ties in various fields of energy, tourism, mining, science, and technology.
Rahmon, for his part, said new documents were signed on Monday for bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Iran in various fields.
“We had constructive talks on enhancement of understanding between the two sides. We agreed to expand cooperation among our free trade and industrial zones. We welcome expansion of transportation through Iran’s southern Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports,” he said.
The Tajik president also underscored that Dushanbe supports any efforts to maintain security in Afghanistan.
On the sidelines of the two president’s meeting, Iran and Tajikistan signed 17 agreements and memorandums of understanding to boost cooperation in a variety of fields, including economy, trade, energy, tourism, science, sports, and transportation as well as industries and new technologies.