DUSHANBE (Dispatches) --
President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday called for Iran and Tajikistan to expand their relations, saying it will pave the way for regional cooperation.
Speaking during a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon here, Raisi stressed that Iran and Tajikistan enjoy suitable capacities to expand bilateral ties.
“Deepening and strengthening bilateral relations will also serve as a ground for enhancing the level of regional cooperation,” he said.
“Through regular meetings and bilateral talks, Iranian and Tajik officials should establish stable and comprehensive relations between the two Persian-speaking countries and make it a model at the regional level.”
Raisi’s visit to Dushanbe culminated in Iran being accepted Friday as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after waiting for years as an observer at the Eurasian political, economic and security alliance.
The accession marks President Raisi’s first achievement in new office, coming on his visit to a country which opposed Iran’s SCO membership in the past.
Rahmon thanked Raisi for accepting his invitation and making his first foreign visit as Iran’s president to Tajikistan.
Referring to joint projects implemented by Iranian experts in Tajikistan, he said, “The friendship and love that exist between the two countries’ people and governments provide a proper ground for enhancing the level of cooperation and relations.”
During the meeting, the two sides pointed to their nations’ common religion, culture and language and expressed hope that the endeavors of Iranian and Tajik officials will open a new chapter in economic, cultural and political cooperation.
After the meeting, the Iranian and Tajik delegations signed six memorandums of understanding (MOUs), an agreement and a technical protocol on customs cooperation.
In a press conference with his Tajik counterpart, the Iranian president said that the agreements “attest to the serious will of the two countries to develop relations”.
He also emphasized that relations with Tajikistan are one of the priorities of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy.
“I hope that this trip will open a new chapter in relationship with Tajikistan and that we will see the development of cultural, tourism and scientific ties between the two countries, along with economic and trade relations,” he added.
Raisi further said Iran and Tajikistan have similar views on Afghanistan.
“We believe that foreign interference in Afghanistan has caused many disasters and that the hands of foreigners should be cut off from the country. The foreigners neither established, nor promoted security. They were also unable to solve the problems of the Afghan nation.”
Raisi said Afghanistan’s problems must be resolved by its people and with the cooperation of neighboring countries.
“Intra-Afghan talks should be facilitated. The government that will be formed in Afghanistan must be inclusive,” he added.
The Iranian president also said the Americans, who formed Daesh, transferred the takfiri terrorists to Afghanistan after wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq.
“The presence of Daesh in Afghanistan is dangerous not only for Afghanistan but also for the region. The ground for the presence of any terrorist current in Afghanistan must be removed. We are strongly opposed to any current which serves as the breeding ground for terrorist movements in Afghanistan. We cannot accept that a terrorist current or Daesh find a safe haven along our borders and harm countries, the region and Afghanistan.”
Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian and his Tajik counterpart Sirojiddin Muhriddin have stressed the importance of forming an inclusive government in Afghanistan that represents all ethnic groups.
Amir-Abdollahian said the formation of an inclusive government is the only way to restore stability and peace in Afghanistan.
The minister further hailed efforts made by the Tajik government and president to facilitate Iran’s permanent membership at the SCO, saying Tehran supports expansion of bilateral cooperation with Dushanbe in all fields.
Muhriddin Iran’s membership would create a new opportunity for Tehran and Dushanbe to strengthen cooperation.