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Iran determined to enhance ties with LatAm states: Zarif

22 August 2016 7:28

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the promotion of diplomatic and economic relations with Latin American countries is among the Islamic Republic’s fundamental policies.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has had strong and age-old relations with the Americas and Latin American states and is determined to expand its relations with and political and economic presence in this important region of the world,” Zarif told reporters on board the plane that was taking him and a large delegation to several Latin American countries on Sunday evening.

Zarif said 60 businessmen and managers from the Iranian private sector and 20 managers from the Iranian state-run economic sector were accompanying him on the trip, which will see him visit Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

“The composition of the delegation,” Zarif said, “is indicative of the significance that both the private and the state-run sectors of the Islamic Republic of Iran attach to the enhancement of relations with Latin America.”

The Iranian foreign minister said Iran’s private and state-run sectors have implemented several projects in Latin American countries over the past few years, and “the Islamic Republic of Iran has diplomatic relations with nearly all the counties in the region.”

Turning to the issue of the relations between Iran and Cuba — his first destination on the Latin American tour — the Iranian foreign minister said Iran stands with the Cuban government and nation.

“Cubans have endured more than five decades of cruel US pressure and sanctions,” Zarif said, adding that even though US President Barack Obama recently paid a visit to Cuba, “the sanctions continue although they have been reduced a little.”

He also praised the biotechnological, scientific and medicinal cooperation between Iran and Cuba, expressing hope that interaction between the Iranian private sector and Cuba would further flourish in technical and engineering arenas.

Zarif is heading a 120-strong politico-economic delegation on the trip to the Latin American countries.

Soon after making the remarks on the plane, he arrived at the José Martí International Airport in the Cuban capital, Havana, on Sunday night following a 16-hour flight.

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