Iran / Pakistan / Afghanistan geopolitical watch team: Daniel Marco and Jérémie Patot.
14/01/2023: Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iranian Foreign Minister, meets Bashar El-Assad in Damascus -Daniel Marco-
On 14 January, Syrian President Bashar El-Assad and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met to strengthen bilateral ties between their countries. According to the official website of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cited the beneficial and close contacts and collaboration between the two countries and said his trip to Syria was aimed at continuing and concluding discussions between Tehran and Damascus on issues of common interest at the bilateral, regional and global levels. Moreover, he stressed that his country will continue to support Damascus in a proactive manner, as it considers Syria’s security and development to be a reflection of its own security and development.
Tehran Times notes that the Iranian Foreign Minister assured that Iran will continue its diplomatic efforts to mediate between Turkey and Syria, and also stressed the importance of protecting national sovereignty and integrity of nations. Al Mayadeen informs Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad stressed that Syria, “in all its steps since 2011 until this moment, aims to eradicate terrorism that has disturbed our relations with Turkey,” referring to Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations with Damascus, which began months ago with the support of Russia and Iran.
Bashar Al-Assad, the Syrian President, said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the closest country to his and “stood by us in the war and we will not forget the help of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. He also stressed how essential President Raisi’s upcoming trip to Syria will be, reports Iran Front Page.
16/01/2023: EU lists Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group, Iranian President calls it a “desperate” act. -Jeremie Patot-
On Wednesday, January 18, MEPs largely adopted a text adding the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to the list of EU terrorist groups due to the increase in the executions of demonstrators in Iran, informs RFI. The Iranian president sees this as a reaction of frustration on the part of Europe over its failures in its attempts to harm the Iranian people. This vote was motivated by the executions that have taken place since the beginning of the demonstrations in reaction to the death of Mahsa Amini.
Iranian reactions were not long in coming, as early as Thursday 19, in a telephone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Amirabdollahian said that the European Parliament took a counterproductive decision by voting on this text, reports Tasmin News; adding that the “emotional, misguided, incorrect and unprofessional” behaviour of the European Parliament is contrary to political rationality and civility.
On Friday, January 20, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called the action by the European Parliament “desperate”, before declaring that “the measure violates international law and the Charter of the United Nations”, according to Tamin News and PressTV.
France24 recalls that the EU already has sanctions in place because of Tehran’s multiple human rights violations, including asset freezes and territorial bans on top politicians, and that 18 people have been sentenced to death by Iranian justice, four have already been hanged and fifty face the same sentence.
17/01/2023 : Iranian Foreign Minister meets Turkish officials to discuss regional issues. -Daniel Marco-
On January 17, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. According to Iran Front Page, Hossein Amirabdollahiana mentioned that the speedy implementation of the Tehran-Ankara agreement on a strategic alliance was one of the main issues he discussed with the Turkish president. “The most recent state of relations between the two countries should be discussed first during the trip to Ankara. Ayatollah Raisi has been officially invited to visit Turkey by Mr. Erdogan, the country’s president,” Hossein Amirabdollahiana had announced during his trip to Ankara underlines Tehran Times. The official website of the Iranian Foreign Ministry informs that the importance of the 3+3 meeting on Caucasus issues, the tripartite meeting between Iran, Turkey and Iraq, and the trilateral meeting between Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan was stressed by the foreign ministers of Iran and Turkey.
Hossein Amirabdollahian also discussed with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu Turkey’s recent decision to reconcile with Syria. L’Orient-Le Jour reports that Hossein Amirabdollahian said the Islamic Republic is “very happy” with the dialogue between Syria and Turkey. “We are very happy to see that the relations between Damascus and Ankara are changing”.
The official website of the Iranian Foreign Ministry notes that cooperation between Iran and Turkey in the fields of energy, transport, culture, tourism, trade, science, and technology was also at the center of the discussions between Hossein Amirabdollahian and the Turkish president.
20/01/2023: Tehran signs a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union. -Jeremie Patot-
Tehran and Moscow have been multiplying cooperation agreements since the isolation of the two countries on the international scene. A new free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), an economic union bringing together Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, was signed with Iran on January 20 according to PressTV.
This agreement would allow the authorization of duty-free exports for more than 90% of their products, according to a report by the official IRNA news agency.
In November 2019, Iran had already concluded a preferential trade agreement with the EAEU to diversify trade routes and offset the consequences of US sanctions on its economic exchanges with the rest of the world, recalls PressTV. The latest data from the Union Commission reveals that in 2021, trade between Iran and the EAEU increased by 74% on an annual basis and increased by another 25% in the first 10 months of 2022 According to Iranian government figures, bilateral trade with the EAEU increased by 66% in value in the year to the end of March 2022, reaching a total of $5.634 billion.
In the same political direction, during a telephone conversation between Iranian President Raisi and Vladimir Putin, on Friday, January 20, it was subject to extend energy cooperation and transits between the two countries, according to Tehran Times before recalling that this is the second telephone exchange between the two presidents in less than two weeks. President Raisi thus declared that “expanding the capacities and cooperation of the two countries, including in the field of transit and energy, is beneficial for the economies of the entire Eurasian region”.