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Iran promises good news on neutralizing sanctions, says 20-year cooperation agreement with Russia almost ready

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks during a press conference in Tehran on November 15. (File photo by Fars news agency)

Tehran says a long-term cooperation roadmap between Iran and Russia is at its final stage of development, as the Islamic Republic takes the initiative to expand its ties with neighboring, regional and friendly countries with the aim of neutralizing sanctions.

 “We have launched a new initiative at the Foreign Ministry, namely 20-year cooperation roadmap documents with neighboring countries, including one with Russia which is almost finalized,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state TV on Saturday.

Last month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Tehran was ready to finalize a comprehensive document on long-term cooperation between the two countries.

Putin, for his part, welcomed Tehran’s proposals on the cooperation roadmap, saying, “We are determined to finalize and implement [the document] as soon as possible.”

“We will obtain permission from the cabinet to conduct negotiations and, like the 25-year cooperation roadmap we developed with China, we can do the same with major neighboring countries,” Khatibzadeh explained.

Since Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, followed by subsequent sanctions aimed at crushing the Iranian economy, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has underlined the necessity of pressing ahead with efforts to neutralize the sanctions.

Under that strategy, Iran has tried to adopt an East-oriented economic policy, expanding its ties with neighboring and other Asian countries and striving to become self-sufficient in key domains. Earlier this year, Iran and China signed a landmark 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in defiance of the US’s unilateral sanctions.

‘Good news on the way over sanctions neutralization’

Nonetheless, Tehran has also pursued the removal of the sanctions through diplomatic channels, including the negotiations in Austria’s capital, Vienna.

“Today, as the talks are taking place in Vienna, a meeting of our ambassadors (with President Raeisi) was held in Tehran so as to have the neutralization of sanctions in parallel with the removal of sanctions that is happening in Vienna,” Khatibzadeh said in his Saturday remarks.

He said President Raeisi is slated to visit neighboring countries soon, adding that the heads of some of those countries, including Turkey, are also going to make a visit to Tehran.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the spokesman said good news will be announced in the coming days on the neutralization of sanctions.

He offered certain details of recent developments in Iran’s economic relations with neighboring countries, saying serious progress has been made in monetary and financial spheres, as well as in expanding exports to neighboring countries.

For instance, he continued, Iran’s economic relations with Tajikistan “have practically increased between two and a half to three times in the last 100 days.”

 “As for Turkmenistan, we removed the obstacles in [the expansion of ties] during Mr. President’s recent visit, and as for some neighboring countries, advancements have been made in monetary and financial spheres,” he remarked, adding, “Better news will be out in the coming days in the field of neutralization of sanctions.”

Earlier in the day, President Raeisi told Iranian ambassadors and heads of Iranian diplomatic missions abroad that Iran should focus on neutralizing the sanctions and canceling out their impact.

He stressed that his administration is doing its best to neutralize the sanctions, saying there are serious efforts underway to establish better ties with neighboring countries.

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