TEHRAN (Iran News) – The first consultation forum of the Foreign Ministry and Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines was held on Monday with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, his deputy for economic diplomacy and directors general of the ministry playing host
The meeting, held at the foreign ministry, had as guests head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines Gholam Hossein Shafeei as well as members of joint chambers of commerce with neighboring countries and joint chambers with key trade partners of Iran, the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Shafeei thanked the foreign minister for holding the meeting, saying the consultation forum is the first initiative and meeting held by a ministry of the 13th government [President Ebrahim Raisi’s government] with the private sector. He described the meeting as significant and as a show of how bold the foreign ministry considers the activities of the private sector. Shafeei also called for such meetings to be held regularly in the coming months.
The private sector economic operators of Iran elaborated on their viewpoints on the expansion of trade ties with other countries, especially neighboring nations and major trade partners of Iran, and called on the Foreign Ministry to increase its support for the private sector’s role in the promotion of economic exchanges with other countries, especially during joint commissions.
During the meeting, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy for economic diplomacy and the ministry’s regional directors general also answered questions raised by the economic operators of the private sector.
The foreign minister later concluded the meeting with economic operators and officials of the Iran chamber, saying the private sector is the propellant engine of ties with other countries. Abdollahian added that trade and economic links help a stable foreign policy and strengthen it, reiterating the foreign ministry’s determination to support the role and participation of the private sector in exchanges with other countries.
Abdollahian also said securing supplies of Covid-19 vaccines is a top priority of the foreign ministry and briefed the participants on the ministry’s steps, over the past days, to help speed up the supply of the vaccine doses needed in the country. He said the ministry welcomes the cooperation of the private sector in this field.
Some of the other topics discussed during the conclusion of the meeting by Foreign Minister Hossein Abdollahian were the formation of a joint committee among the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade and Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines; recognizing the real place of the private sector in joint commissions on economic cooperation; continuation of such consultative meetings; participation of the head of the Iran chamber in the meetings of the Foreign Ministry’s Council of Deputies, with respect to the economic topics raised, and prioritization of topics related to organizing border terminals and strengthening the country’s infrastructure when they promote exports.
Also on Monday, the Iranian foreign minister held his first session with foreign ambassadors to Tehran. The meeting happened at the Foreign Ministry’s Shaheed Soleimani Building of the Political and International Studies Compound.
In the meeting, Abdollahian rolled out Iran’s foreign policy and main priorities under President Ebrahim Raisi. He described the new Iranian administration’s foreign policy as balanced, active, dynamic and smart. Abdollahian said, “We insist on sending a message to the world that our foreign policy will be balanced. Accordingly, a major priority for us will be our neighbors. There are no exceptions in this regard,” according to a separate statement by the Iranian foreign ministry.
He went on to say that another priority for Iran will be Asia, saying the continent has a special standing in the 21st century and the emerging economic powers have created new opportunities for Asia and the whole world.
He stressed that Iran has many friends and allies among its neighbors and in Asia, and “We pay special attention to these two axes in our foreign policy priorities. However, as Iran’s 13th government’s foreign policy agenda suggests, our priority over neighbors and Asia does not mean ignoring the rest of the world, and focusing on Arab and Islamic countries, African countries, Latin America, and Europe and the West will be a component of our active and dynamic foreign policy.”
The foreign minister named the Coronavirus pandemic as one of the thematic priorities of President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration, adding, “Apart from paying attention to the maximum production of domestic vaccines, we at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the cooperation of esteemed foreign ambassadors, succeeded in supplying large quantities of Covid vaccines. Also, due to the special and worrying situation in Afghanistan, we have not even neglected to pay attention to the more than 4 million refugees in our country, and we are pursuing the vaccination program of these Afghan guests in Iran.”
The Iranian foreign minister explained Iran’s position on the nuclear talks. He said, “The Iranian government considers negotiation as an effective tool of diplomacy and we will not distance ourselves from negotiations in any way. As I emphasized in my meeting with Mr. Erike Mora, we believe in negotiations and positively view them as an opportunity for diplomacy, but we believe that negotiations for negotiations’ sake will not benefit the Iranian nation and other sides.”
He added, “The US inflicted the main damage on the JCPAO [nuclear deal] and they are not only the accused, but also the main culprit in violating the agreement.” While emphasizing that Iran welcomes any negotiation that guarantees the rights and interests of the Iranian people, the foreign minister added, “We believe in wise and firm talks which would ensure the rights of the nation and we work actively in this regard.” Abdollahian noted that Iran does not view inconclusive and time-consuming talks as useful for Iranians.
Abdollahian also referred to the misunderstandings in bilateral relations with a few countries that have hampered smooth mobility and favorable diplomatic relations. He stressed the importance of dialogue, saying, “We view dialogue with regional nations as a principle and consider regional talks as a serious way out of the current situation in the region.” Noting that his first foreign trip as a minister was to attend a meeting in Baghdad, he said, “While we believe that foreign interference and efforts to resolve regional issues through military means are detrimental to the region, we also support any format that encourages intra-regional dialogue and whose outcome is in the interest of peace, stability and development in the region.”
He then turned to relations with Europe, emphasizing the opportunities for Europe and the West in the new Iranian government’s balanced foreign policy. Abdollahian noted that Europe is not just the troika.