Tehran Seeks Enduring Persian Gulf Ties

A03485151.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stressed the need to forge long-term stable relations with the Persian Gulf countries.

The president made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi, stressing that the time is ripe for regional countries to expand their friendly relations.

President Ahmadinejad described cooperation between Tehran and Muscat as good, expressing hope that the two sides’ collaboration would bring about “good results”.

He said there is a strong will among both the Iranian and Omani governments to broaden bilateral relations.

“There are no limitations on Tehran’s side to upgrade the level of exchanges with Muscat”, he said.

Ahmadinejad referred to friendly relations between the Iranian and Omani nations, and called for immediate implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries in various fields.

For his part, the Omani minister said after the meeting that Iran has always been proactive in expanding relations with the regional countries, saying that the expansion of relations between the regional countries on the basis of friendship and brotherhood is necessary.

He also noted that the suggestions made by the Iranian president at a summit of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) in Doha, belonged to all nations in the region and must be implemented in practice.

In a separate meeting with Omani foreign minister, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Tehran welcomes conclusion of a deal for free trade with the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.

“Iran’s volume of trade with Arab states of the Persian Gulf, including the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council members, Iraq, and a few other countries, has been raised to about $20 billion. The Islamic republic has put on agenda a target of $50 billion worth of projects and mutual investments,” Mottaki told a joint press conference with his Omani counterpart, Yousef bin Alawi.

Mottaki said Iran and Oman intend to raise the volume of mutual transactions to one billion dollars from the current $200 million through expansion of mutual cooperation.

The minister stressed that Tehran and Muscat should raise the level of economic relations as consistent with their political ties.

“During president Ahmadinejad’s visit to Oman early this year, good decisions were made in order to activate the Joint Economic Cooperation Commission and new missions were defined for the countries’ foreign ministries too”, he said.

Mottaki described a project to transfer Iran’s gas to Oman and the operation of Iranian contractors in Oman over the past few months as among positive steps taken by the two sides for expansion of mutual cooperation.

The Iranian top diplomat said cooperation with Oman in the security domain and campaign against drug trafficking, organized crimes, and smuggling are within the framework of mutual accords.

Alawi, for his part hailed Iran’s role in promotion of regional security and stability and said his country has pinned high hope on the discussions held with Tehran.

Yet in a separate meeting, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili told Alawi that Iran’s idea of ‘the Gulf of Friendship’ is not a slogan.

He said the idea should be treated as a strategic plan raised by the Islamic Republic for expansion of cooperation among the northern and southern countries of the Persian Gulf and an important step to guarantee the security and welfare of the region.

Jalili said Iran and Oman should concentrate their efforts on consolidation of their “historical” relations and make plans to bolster economic ties and plan for the future.

Alawi said his country is ready to expand cooperation with Iran in the gas sector, make joint investments and raise volume of mutual trade.

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