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Kazakh-Iran economic and trade cooperation to ease tension in the region

11 january 2014, 12:08
0
Photo a courtesy of Tengrinews
Photo a courtesy of Tengrinews
Iranian Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Valiollah Afkhami-Rad, who is also the head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, visited Astana to meet with his Kazakhstani counterpart Vice-Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Timur Zhaksilev at the 3rd sitting of the Kazakh-Iranian Work Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation to sign a note of mutual understanding, Tengrinews reports, citing the press office of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning.

Kazakhstan, the mediator that recent replaced Turkey in the nuclear crisis discussions, is an important partner for Iran. For Kazakhstan, the relations with Iran are crucial, as stability in the Caspian region is largely depends on Iran’s decision in regards to its nuclear program. In these pragmatic relations, both countries seek economic stability and development of trade relations to ease tensions in the region caused by the nuclear program and Iran’s opposition to the interventions of the United States. Opportunities for trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Iran were thoroughly discussed at the third sitting in Astana.

The Ministers discussed implementation of the earlier agreed projects. They also talked about the future bilateral cooperation in trade between the two countries. The turnover between two countries has grown to $2 billion over the recent years. Kazakhstan exports oil products, grain and metals to Iran. In return, Kazakhstan imports Iranian food products. At the moment, the countries are discussing the possibility of cooperating in mining, agriculture, transport, logistics, tourism and culture.

In February 2013, upon the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union Catherine Ashton’s suggestion and President Nazarbayev’s initiative, Kazakhstan hosted one of the rounds of the Iranian nuclear talks in Almaty. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Yerlan Idrissov noted that hosting of the nuclear talks is important for Kazakh-Iranian relations. Kazakhstan would benefit from a consensus of the opposing parties and the end of the Iranian nuclear crisis, Idrissov said. Kazakhstan is a very large, but landlocked country that had no access seaports for trade and further economic development. Iran can bridge this gap for Kazakhstan.

In July 2013, President Nazarbayev met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to congratulate him for winning the Presidential elections and discuss future cooperation between Kazakhstan and Iran.

Now aside from the economic and trade cooperation, it is important for Kazakhstan to be able to reach a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis without breaking their relations as in case with Turkey.

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