Tehran pursues stronger relations with Astana Iran's foreign minister
(IRNA) - Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday that Tehran intends to cement ties with Kazakhstan in all domains, reports Trend.
"Consultations between the two (Iranian and Kazakh) presidents on the sidelines of Shanghai meeting, have given a special impetus to bilateral relations, providing the two sides with abundant opportunities for expansion of relations in the economic, commercial, industrial, investment, technical and engineering, road building, banking, and energy sectors as well as in the wheat and oil exports to the Persian Gulf and north Africa via Iran," said Mottaki in a meeting with Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev on the eve of his visit to Iran.
On significance of relations between Iran and Kazakhstan, Mottaki said, "We consider strength and progress of Kazakhstan as that of Iran. Consolidation of relations and bonds between the two neighbors in light of cultural and social commonalities would guarantee progress and development of the two countries."
The Iranian minister then referred to the ongoing consultations among the expert groups, to be followed by foreign ministers' meeting of the five Caspian Sea littoral states and said the negotiations would play a "highly important and strategic" role in final draft of the Caspian Sea condominium for discussion in the Tehran summit.
He said outcome of the eighth meeting of Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission can serve as a preparatory to the upcoming visit of Kazakh president to Tehran and provide appropriate grounds for promotion of bilateral ties.
Criticizing the UN Security Council for its dubious approaches towards nuclear issue, Mottaki said, "Unfortunately, the UN Security Council is trying to deprive Iranian nation of its inalienable right for development of civilian nuclear technology, while the Zionist Regime of Israel has acknowledged to possession of nuclear weapons and is blatantly violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty." Nazarbayev for his part said expansion of friendly ties with Iran is regarded as a "significant and important" component by his country.
He said Kazakhstan is willing to expand commercial relations with Iran through the Caspian Sea and Mashhad-Sarakhs route.
He referred to oil swap via Iran and joint transit of goods from Kazakhstan's Aqtau port to the Persian Gulf via Iranian territory as well as use of North-South corridor and export of Iranian goods to other parts of the world via the republic as good areas for mutual cooperation.
Lauding significance of the Caspian Sea summit in Tehran, Nazarbayev said regional cooperation should be upgraded, with Tehran and Astana playing a graver role in the process.
He supported joint projects for establishment of a refinery north of Iran and a petrochemical facility in Kazakhstan, hoping that his visit to Iran in 2007 would reap great benefits for the two states.