Athens, February 6, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Greek Prime Minister’s Alexis Tsipras visit to Iran is confirmation of the multidimensional and active foreign policy of the Greek Government. At the head of a numerous delegation A. Tsipras departs Saturday for Tehran, where Sunday and Monday he will hold important talks on bilateral and regional issues. The Greek prime minister is the first western country leader to visit Tehran after the achievement of the Agreement for Iran’s nuclear programme.
The visit of the Greek PM comes two months after the visit of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who with his presence and the contacts with the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran paved the way for the visit of Alexis Tsipras.
Nikos Kotzias had taken up the initiative to receive his Iranian counterpart in Athens at the end of 2015 last year, well before the lifting of the international community’s sanctions on Iran’s nuclear programme, in an attempt to open a channel of communication between the two countries, something in which apparently the Greek Foreign Ministry succeeded.
The great interest of both countries to develop their relations comes as a confirmation of the atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding that Greece and Iran have been cultivating for many years now. At a political level, this is emphasized by the expressed will of both Athens and Tehran, as is stressed in statements and interviews with officials, to give a strong impetus to bilateral relations, but also become the stability factors in a critical region of the world.
According to government sources, “after the confirmation of the strategic cooperation of Greece and Cyprus with Egypt and Israel, and under an active and multidimensional foreign policy, the Greek government reheats its bilateral relations with Iran, a regional player with significant influence, which returns to the international scene, normalising its relations with the West”.
The interest of bilateral meetings is expected to focus on energy and renewable energy sources, construction, water management, tourism, with the aim to attract Iranian tourists to Greece, culture, which is a comparative advantage of both countries, the financial and the food processing sector and the pharmaceutical industry.
Apart from the economic cooperation, contacts and will focus on the cooperation to stabilise and promote peace in the region, bilateral cooperation within international organisations, and dialogue on regional developments.
The Greek delegation apart from the Prime Minister, will be comprised of Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Giorgos Stathakis, Minister of Environment and Energy, Panos Skourletis, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Mardas, and the Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Developmental Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Tsipras.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Iran will start from the historical city of Isfahan and will continue in Tehran, where the Prime Minister and the government delegation will meet with the political and state leadership of Iran, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Hassan Rouhani. A number of bilateral agreements will be signed during the meetings.
The atmosphere for Alexis Tsipras in Tehran is very positive, since they believe in the Iranian capital that the Greek government is a reliable and powerful friend that will help the Iranian government to develop its relations with the Western world. Characteristic of this is that during the interview of the Greek Foreign Minister on state television, he was asked a host of questions from the Iranian journalist about Alexis Tsipras, to the point that caused the surprise of Nikos Kotzias for the knowledge of the journalist regarding the Greek Prime Minister.