Ahmadinejad stresses need for expansion of Iran-Turkmenistan ties
According to IRNA Monday night news, the information website of the President's Office further quoted President Ahmadinejad as saying in his meeting with Turkmenistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov, "Relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkmenistan are intimate and brotherly and so far the entire meetings between the two countries' officials have been constructive and in line with the expansion of comprehensive relations."
He reiterated, "Today the level of two countries' relations must improve to a greater extent than ever before in various fields and the both countries' officials must do their best to achieve that end."
The Iranian president expressing hope that the two countries would as soon as possible manage to implement the objectives of the reached bilateral agreements, considered Iran-Turkmenistan relations as an ideal model of constructive relations for the other countries in the region, reported IRNA.
He reiterated, "The current ideal relations between Iran and Turkmenistan is indebted to the strong will and the good management of the two countries' officials and we must try to further strengthen and deepen these relations."
Ahmadinejad also referred to the upcoming 16th Tehran NAM Summit, reiterating, "Beyond doubt, the presence of Turkmenistan's president at that summit would lead to strengthening and deepening the results that would be achieved in that summit meeting."
Turkmenistan's foreign minister for his part referred to his country's hosting of the 12th Meeting of the Shared Economic Commission of the two countries and the Iran and Turkmenistan Business Conference, reiterating, "Turkmenistan has always favored expansion of its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and in order to achieve that objectives we have broad-scale programs underway."
The Turkmen top diplomat pointed out that the current level of Iran-Turkmenistan trade volume is five billion US dollars, adding, "According to the reached agreements between the Iranian and the Turkmen officials, there are unused potentials in both sides, and the level of our bilateral trade can in reach 10 billion dollars as soon as next year."
Rashid Meredov meanwhile referred to the significance of road and railroad transpirations and goods transport in increasing the volume of Iran-Turkmenistan trade volume, arguing, "The republic of Turkmenistan would spend its entire efforts aimed at marinating the ascending process of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Iran and Turkmenistan have had relations since Turkmenistan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Iran was the first nation to recognize Turkmenistan as an independent nation. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed good relations and have cooperated in economic, infrastructure, and energy sectors.
Tehran has the largest volume of trade exchange with Turkmenistan after Russia. The Tajan-Mashhad-Sarakhs railroad, the $139 million Korpeje-Kurt Kui Gas Pipeline in western Turkmenistan and the $167 million Dousti ('Friendship' in Persian) Dam in the south of the country were built through a joint venture. Balkanabad-Aliabad Power Transfer Line and several other projects such as the program of fiber-optic communications development, construction of bunkers and other objects in Merve and a refinery in Turkmenbashi, construction of liquefied gas terminals, highways are instances of growing bilateral relations. In 2009 about 100 industrial projects have been built or are being built in Turkmenistan with Iranian help.
Annual trade turnover decreased to $1.2 billion in 2009 from $3.2 billion in 2008 mostly because of decrease in the price of oil and gas. Turkmenistan's exports to Iran increased by 42 percent during January-September 2007. Turkmenistan's main exports to Iran were natural gas, oil and petrochemical products, as well as textiles. Turkmenistan sold 8 billion cubic meters of gas to Iran in 2010 from 5.8 bcm in 2005. Turkmenistan normally supplies 5 percent of Iran's gas demand. Both countries inaugurated Dowlatabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran Pipeline in 2010 to raise natural gas supplies to Iran to 20 billion cubic meters a year.