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Documents aimed at expansion of relations between Belarus and Iran signed in Tehran

Photo APEight documents aimed at the expansion of bilateral relations in various fields were signed as a result of Aleksandr Lukashenko's November 5-7 state visit to Tehran, said the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

In particular, Mr. Lukashenko and Iranian President Mahmoud Amhadinejad signed a joint communique on the development of bilateral relations and attended the signing of an agreement on legal assistance in civil and criminal cases, a memorandum of mutual understanding between the governments of Belarus and Iran on cooperation in the oil industry, and an interstate agreement on cooperation in the prevention of natural disasters and other emergencies.

The heads of Iran's Standards and Industrial Research Institute and Belarus' State Committee on Standardization signed a cooperation agreement.

IRNA Managing Director Jalal Fayyazi and the director general of the Belarusian government's news agency BelTA, Dmitry Zhuk, signed an agreement on information exchange.

Officials of the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company also signed a cooperation agreement.

A memorandum of mutual understanding was signed between the Belarusian Potash Company and Iran's Agriculture Support Company.

In addition, an agreement was signed on the establishment of sister city relations between Minsk and Tehran.

As the Belarusian leader said, one of the results of his visit to Iran was the conclusion of contracts totaling about $350 million. He said that annual trade between the two nations might reach a level of $1 billion within the next few years. According to him, "colossal agreements" were reached at the highest level during his Tehran talks with regard to the joint development of oil fields, the establishment of joint machine-building enterprises, the joint manufacture of refrigerators and other household equipment.

According to Belarusian official information sources, Mr. Lukashenko said that the presidents had agreed that Iran might always rely on support from Belarus, a country at the center of Europe, as well as Belarus might always rely on Iran, which is located at the center of the East. "Given Iran's decisive role in the Middle East and the position of Belarus in Central Europe, a new chapter can be opened in their bilateral relations through the expansion of cooperation," the IRNA quoted him as saying.

He reportedly said that the economies of Iran and Belarus complement each other, and that there are many spheres of special interests to both sides in the economic area.

President Ahmadinejad reportedly referred to Mr. Lukashenko's visit as a turning point in the history of bilateral relations. "Given the agreements reached during the meetings, the amount of Iranian-Belarusian annual trade is expected to rise from $45 million to $350 million, which is a great leap forward," the IRNA quoted him as saying.

According to Mr. Ahmadinejad, he had called on the government to pursue the signed agreements more seriously. "We are willing to lay a firm cornerstone for close and long-term bilateral relations," he said.

Mr. Lukashenko noted good understanding between the two countries and said that they are well acquainted with each other's potentials and status, the IRNA reported.

He said that Iran and Belarus have objective and clear reasons for close relations and declared his country's readiness for cooperation with Iran in all fields. He noted that national security had also been on the agenda of his talks with the Iranian president.

"I promised to President Ahmadinejad that if the reached agreements are implemented, we will do our best to assist Iran and respond to any demand it may have," he said, according to the IRNA.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said that investment in industry, urban development, the oil and energy sector, housing construction, the development of tourist infrastructure, and the food industry are among the potential areas of cooperation between the two states. //BelaPAN

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