Iran is ready to boost cooperation, particular in the economic field, with regional countries, especially within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday.
Raisi made the remarks during his meetings on Thursday with some heads of states during a visit to Tajikistan to attend the SCO summit, according to the Iranian presidential website.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to promote regional relations and cooperation, particularly with neighboring countries, and Pakistan has a special place in this regard," said Raisi in a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Referring to the long border between the two countries and the capacity to enhance trade in the border areas, Raisi said that "establishing security in the border areas can activate the significant capacities of these areas for economic and trade interactions and exchanges."
For his part, Khan appreciated the "constructive" and "brotherly" positions of Iran towards Pakistan, saying that "we are looking for comprehensive development of our relations with Iran, especially in the field of transportation."
In another meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Raisi said that the level of Tehran-Tashkent economic ties should be deepened in line with political relations.
"The current level of economic relations between Iran and Uzbekistan does not correspond to the level of political relations between the two countries, and the Islamic Republic is interested in developing economic relations with Uzbekistan in the framework of deepening relations with neighbors," Raisi was quoted as saying by the presidential website.
Despite the U.S. sanctions, Iran has continued its progress, the Iranian president said, adding that in the meantime, "we seek to lift the oppressive sanctions against the Islamic Republic."
Mirziyoyev said that common civilizational and historical background of the two countries can play an important role in facilitating the development of the economic and cultural relations between the two countries.
Uzbekistan, he said, is looking for an operational roadmap to expand economic ties with Iran, especially in the field of transportation.
Enhancing economic ties was also on the agenda of Raisi's meeting with Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
Raisi called for the completion of the joint projects as soon as possible, which could accelerate and facilitate the development of bilateral economic exchanges.
"I have instructed the economic and technical ministers to pursue the implementation of the joint agreements," he said.
"Development of regional relations is one of the ways to counter (U.S.) sanctions, and countries like Iran and Belarus have been able to counter sanctions," Raisi added.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko said that "no country has succeeded in imposing sanctions on other countries, and sanctions are essentially a failed policy in the world."
The Belarusian president called for the "formation a joint work group in addition to accelerating the completion of the joint projects to develop an operational roadmap to improve the relations between the two countries."
The two-day SCO summit is scheduled to focus on regional issues, including that of Afghanistan.
The SCO was established in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined the SCO as full members in 2017. Iran and Belarus are both observers in the organization.