Showing posts with label Belt and Road Initiative. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belt and Road Initiative. Show all posts

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Iran and Russia sign an agreement to build a railway line boosting the North-South Trade Route initiative

    Thursday, May 18, 2023   No comments

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, witnessed via video link today, Wednesday, the signing of an agreement to finance and build a railway in Iran, as part of plans to establish an international transport corridor linking the north and south.



The railway line between the cities of Rasht and Astara is seen as an important link in the international corridor, which aims to connect India, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and other countries by rail and sea.

Russia says this corridor can rival the Suez Canal as a major route for global trade.

Putin said that the unique north-south transport route - of which the Rasht-Astara railway will become a part - will contribute to a significant diversification of global transport flows.


He added that the railway line - which extends 162 km along the Caspian Sea coast - will help connect Russian ports on the Baltic Sea with ports.

Iran bordering the Indian Ocean and the Gulf.

In turn, the Iranian president said that this agreement is undoubtedly an important and strategic step in the field of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

Western sanctions imposed on Russia and Iran have pushed the two countries to strengthen their political and economic relations, and both countries say the sanctions are unjustified.

Since 1979, the West has imposed numerous sanctions on Iran, which has about a quarter of the oil reserves in the Middle East, and its economy has been paralyzed. The West has also imposed another set of restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program, and imposed sanctions on Russia because of its war in Ukraine.

The agreement between Russia and Iran, with support from India, will make this initiative one that would compete with the Suez Canal, reducing the strategic importance of the Suez Canal and revenues for the Egyptian government. Aware of this connection between these trade systems, Egypt and Iran increased their low level talks to repair their diplomatic relations that have been downgraded since 1979.


The North-South Trade line is not isolated from the China-backed Belt and Road initiative, in fact it is seen as a complementing project. For that to be true, Pakistan must be integrated into this project. It is no coincidence then that the Iranian president, hours after signing the agreement with Putin, visited the border with Pakistan to emphasize two critical things: The integration of Pakistan into the Asia economy anchored by China and Russia and to address the security issue in the border with Pakistan, which recalls the increasing role now played by the SCO in regional security matters.
 
To these ends, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said today, Thursday, that he is in the process of implementing joint border projects between Iran and Pakistan. He added during a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Sistan and Baluchistan province on the sidelines of the opening of the electricity transmission project to Pakistan that part of the border markets with Pakistan has not been activated so far, and its problems will be resolved during this visit.

He pointed out that his country's government will also follow up the implementation of economic and tourism projects and border transportation.

The Iranian president said: "We will take more field steps to exchange energy and electricity with Pakistan, in addition to energy exchange and the launch of a joint border market between the two countries."

He confirmed that 6 other joint markets are being planned to be launched soon. He added that today's meeting, with the participation of the Pakistani Prime Minister, carries an "important message that borders can contribute to enhancing security between the two countries."

He pointed out that Pakistan's security "is the security of the entire region, which is our security, and the presence of foreigners in the region will not solve its security problems."

Raisi also touched on the outcome of the American presence in Afghanistan, saying that this presence contributed to "killing, wounding, disabling and displacing many of the people of this country."

For his part, Sharif said that Iran and Pakistan are "two brothers and two friends who share a common culture and history."

He added, "Means of strengthening economic relations in the future were discussed," stressing: "We will overcome all challenges and difficulties to achieve this goal."

Earlier, Iranian President Sharif met at the Bish-Mand joint border, as the two sides discussed developing joint trade relations.

Raisi and his accompanying delegation arrived Thursday morning in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan to follow up on a number of development projects in the province.

During this visit, Raisi followed up on the progress made in the strategic project to develop the "Makran coasts", and the inauguration of the water pumping process in the "Kahir Dam" and the operations of extending water to a number of villages in this province.

He pointed out that the development of the province of Sistan and Baluchestan is one of the priorities of the government's plans, adding: "The plans and programs set for this province, especially the Makran region, will be followed up."

Upon his arrival at Konark Airport, Raisi noted that the beaches of Makran have a lot of "good potentials for the economy, tourism and maritime economy."

He added, "Thanks to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, good measures and steps were taken in developing the province and developing its tourism and economic potential."

He stated that one of the objectives of this visit is to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the former borders of the city of Rask, and to follow up on planning economic projects, road tourism and infrastructure for the province of Sistan and Baluchestan.


Monday, February 13, 2023

Is the visit by Iran’s president to China a relation-repair opportunity or a bilateral strategic summit?

    Monday, February 13, 2023   No comments

In December of 2022, the Chinese president made a visit to Saudi Arabia, and while meeting with representatives of other GCC members states and representatives of some Arab governments, Xi, out of courtesy, signed GCC statement issued at the conclusion of the gathering. The Chinese president also delivered a speech while attending the Arab-China summit.

The statement, however, contained language of support for the UAE in reaching a negotiated and peaceful solution to the issue of the three islands that Iran considers part of its territory, as well as calling on Iran to seriously engage in negotiations to return to the nuclear agreement.

In response to Xi’s endorsement of the statement, Tehran summoned the Chinese ambassador to Iran, to protest against the statement of the Gulf-Chinese summit, which touched on the status of the Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands.

China responded immediately. The Chinese foreign ministry issued a clarification saying that the GCC countries and Iran are all China's friends, and neither China-GCC relations nor China-Iran relations are targeted at any third party, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a press briefing. China supports the GCC countries in improving relations with Iran based on the principle of good-neighborly friendship, conducting win-win cooperation with Iran and jointly promoting the development and stability in the Persian Gulf. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in this regard, Wang said.


China also sent its Vice Prime Minister Hu Chunhua to Tehran on December 13th to try and contain the situation. From there, Chunhua stressed that "China supports Iran's national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national honor, and combats foreign interference."

When the Vice Premier Hu Chunhua met with Raisi in Iranian capital Tehran during the same December visit, Raisi stressed that no matter how the international and regional landscapes change, Iran will remain firmly committed to deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

On Sunday February12, 2023, the Chinese government announced that, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will pay a state visit to China from Tuesday to Thursday. Later on the same day, the Iranian government confirmed the visit. IRNA, the official news agency of Iran, reported that delegations from both sides are due to sign "cooperation documents,” and that Raisi will also take part in meetings with Chinese businessmen and Iranians living in China.

Chinese media predict that Raisi’s visit will enhance the two countries relations, especially in the context of the major channels that connect the two countries. "Cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will give China and Iran more space for cooperation. It is foreseeable that after this meeting, China-Iran relations will enter a new and higher stage," report the Chinese daily, GT.


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