Iran Looking for Closer Ties with Neighbours in Rouhani’s New Term

Bahram Ghasemi

Securing better relations with neighbours and making greater contribution to regional peace and stability will be high on the Islamic Republic’s agenda in President Rouhani’s new four-year term, foreign ministry spokesman says.

Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the new administration has shaped its foreign policy on the basis of improvement of relations with neighbors, contribution to peace and stability in the region, and efforts to combat terrorism.

He referred to plans for establishment of a new economic bureau in the Foreign Ministry, saying it would help the ministry pursue economic diplomacy more actively to attract foreign investment, boost exports and send workforce abroad.

Highlighting Iran’s mutual cooperation with neighboring countries, Qassemi pointed to a recent visit to Turkey by Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, saying the high-profile trip marked a “progress and complementary step” in Tehran-Ankara ties and its positive impacts on regional developments will emerge in future.

As regards the tensions with Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson said Iran has taken the necessary measures with regard to the bilateral relations, expressing the hope that the kingdom would observe the regional situation with a better sense of realism.

He further described the political negotiations in the Kazakh city of Astana as an “effective approach” to settling the crisis in Syria, saying the initiative has no alternative.

Syria’s warring sides have so far attended five rounds of peace talks in Astana, brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey, known as the guarantors of a ceasefire in the Arab country.

The fourth round of those talks in May produced a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria, sharply reducing fighting in the country.

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