“The president has been stressing the need for the current trade between our country and the neighboring countries to double in four years,” said Mahdi Safari.
“On the same basis, the foreign ministry held the five-day meeting of the ambassadors and envoys in the missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran with a focus on neighboring countries and economic diplomacy.”
Safari further explained that the policy centers on exports of engineering services and exchanges on electricity, natural gas, oil and even water with other countries.
He said neutralizing sanctions is the main objective of Iran’s cooperation with neighboring countries, especially in the area of trade.
“Independent from the negotiations [in Vienna on removal of the US bans], we want to offset the sanctions,” he said.
Safari added that the idea, floated in Ashgabat, of the agreement among Iran, the Azerbaijan Republic and Turkmenistan for natural gas swap can also be a basis for cooperation on water swap.
The deputy foreign minister also touched on Russia’s objection to the quality of agricultural products exported from Iran.
“A delegation will visit Moscow and we asked [the Russian side] to hold bilateral talks on different levels, even at the level of the foreign ministry, on the issue. The problem has been temporarily resolved and a delegation from Russia will also visit our farms,” he said.
Safari also said the number of Iranian trade attaches in different countries will increase from 8 to 35 in an attempt to promote economic diplomacy.
Safari also talked about the opportunities full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization bring to Iran.
“The Shanghai [Cooperation Organization] has great economic capacity, which we will work to combine with the potential offered by the Economic Cooperation Organization, otherwise known as ECO,” he said.
The official also said there have been openings on the issue of Iranian funds blocked in other countries due to the US sanctions, including in Iraq.