Tehran, February 9, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Talks with the senior religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani had in Teheran the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in the framework of his official visit to Iran. Earlier, during the meeting with the first vice president of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri, Mr Tsipras signed a series of Agreements and described the cooperation between Greece and Iran as of strategic importance.
Prior to the statements there was the signing ceremony of agreements for the upgrade of diplomatic relations by the Foreign Ministers Nikos Kotzias and Javad Zarif, which provide:
- Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations
- Agreement on visa exemption in diplomatic passports
- Road map for the improvement of bilateral cooperation
The common denominator of the positions expressed by Mr Tsipras and Mr Jahangir is the need to combat violence and extremism, dealing with the Islamic State and the development of cooperation to safeguard stability in a sensitive area of the world.
Mr Jahangir noted that the visit of the Prime Greek is a milestone for bilateral relations and in this context he emphasised the decisions taken for the development of cooperation in the economic sector, noting that in a very short time, Greece and Iran managed to develop their relations, expressing his satisfaction with the progress made.
Mr Tsipras said that the contacts and the meeting with the first vice president opens a new field of cooperation of two peoples with a long course from the depths of centuries. We are two people who know how to fight for independence and our dignity, the prime minister said and described the upgrading of the level of relations as “strategic”.
Common goal, Mr Tsipras said, is the utilisation of the fact that the two countries emerge from years of crisis and new possibilities are created for a return to growth with mutually beneficial results.
The Prime Minister made reference to the refugee problem, stressing that the crisis in Syria is having an impact on Greece due to the refugee flows and added that everyone needs to contribute to restoring stability and dealing with the Islamic State. To this end, Iran has a role to play, Tsipras added.
The atmosphere of the meeting
During the meeting, the Iranian vice president stressed the need to quickly make up lost ground in the relation of the two countries, but also with the EU, which have suffered setbacks in previous years. For his part, Mr Tsipras praised the role of Iran in the region and stressed his own determination to develop bilateral relations at the highest level, while highlighting the geopolitical importance of Greece -Iran cooperation.
Satisfaction was also expressed for the cooperation in the energy sector, while the Greek Prime Minister recalled that due to the embargo, the volume of bilateral trade dropped below EUR 30 mln in 2015, thus suggesting that there is much room for development and cooperation. He also proposed to organise joint economic committees, to explore other areas of cooperation and overcome more quickly any obstacles.
The two delegations discussed a range of technical issues in order to facilitate cooperation on many issues, such as the financial sector, the field of medicine and health in general, culture and education, infrastructure, transport and the construction industry.
After that, the Prime Minister had a luncheon with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, followed by the meetings of the PM and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah A. Khameini, the President of the Iranian Parliament A. Larijani and the President of the National Security Coucil A. Shamkhani.