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Source: Al Jazeera

Mar 13, 2023

The two presidents signed eight agreements on trade, mining and transportation.

By Maziar Motamedi

Tehran, Iran – Iran and Belarus have signed a cooperation roadmap document during a state visit by President Alexander Lukashenko to Tehran.

Lukashenko arrived in the Iranian capital late on Sunday and was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday. The visit comes as the two countries mark 30 years of official diplomatic relations.

The two presidents and their delegations held talks, at the end of which they signed eight agreements on trade, mining and transportation, among other things.

“Today we achieved an agreement on a comprehensive roadmap between Iran and Belarus,” Raisi said during a joint conference with Lukashenko following the talks.

“This comprehensive roadmap between Iran and Belarus outlines political and economic conditions and encompasses all areas of interest between the two countries.”

The Iranian president also declared that Tehran has made United States and Western sanctions into opportunities for itself and is ready to share its experiences of dealing with the sanctions with “friendly” Belarus. Both countries oppose “unilateralism”, Raisi said.

Lukashenko also met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei.

“Countries that are sanctioned by the US must work together and form a joint collective to destroy the weapon of sanctions, and we believe this is doable,” Khamenei told Lukashenko according to his official website.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that sanctions could be turned into an opportunity, and added that he was looking forward to expanding economic relations with Iran. The two agreed to set a target of $100m for bilateral trade this year.

“Iran and Belarus both want to see a just, multipolar world,” Lukashenko said. “The two countries fully trust each other and their two nations also support expanding relations.”

The presidents did not speak during the conference about Russia, which both consider a close ally, especially following the war in Ukraine.

Both have been targeted by Western sanctions, with Tehran being blamed for sending armed drones to Russia for use in the war, something it has denied.

Belarus has been ruled by Lukashenko for 30 years. In that time, he has been accused by human rights organisations of suppressing dissent, most recently sentencing an opposition leader to 15 years in prison.

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