Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic can function as the passageway of Georgia and other regional countries to the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean while Georgia can connect Iran to the Black Sea.
“Transit [cooperation] in the region currently has special significance and given a rail link between Iran’s [northern city of] Astara and Azerbaijan and good rail and road routes in Georgia, the development of Tehran-Tbilisi cooperation in this field can bring about a transportation in the region,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in Tehran on Saturday.
He added that the two countries enjoy deep-rooted and cordial relations and noted that Tehran welcomes further expansion of ties with Tbilisi in all fields.
“Iran and Georgia have broad economic, scientific and cultural capacities and capabilities to strengthen their cooperation but these capabilities have not been utilized well and this trip can lay the appropriate ground for the expansion of mutual relations,” the Iranian president said.
He also urged the two countries to support investors in the private sectors to boost their cooperation.
Rouhani further highlighted the importance of interaction between Iran and Georgia on regional issues, saying, “Today, the region is faced with a big problem named terrorism and we must boost our cooperation to counter and uproot it.”
Georgia resolute on linking Persian Gulf to Black Sea through Iran
The Georgian prime minister, for his part, said his country is determined to connect the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea through Iran’s roads and railways.
He urged the two countries to strengthen cooperation in the transit of goods and transportation.
Kvirikashvili said Tehran and Tbilisi have been expanding political, economic and trade relations over the recent years and called on the two sides to make use of their capacities to further develop their cooperation.
The premier’s trip to Tehran came few days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Georgia on the second leg of a three-nation tour of Central Asia and the Caucasus countries which also took him to Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Speaking at a meeting on Iran-Georgia economy in Tbilisi on April 18, Zarif stressed the importance of launching a new transport corridor connecting the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea and said it would strengthen relations among regional countries.
“If implemented, the corridor connecting the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea is an opportunity which will bring regional countries closer to each other and decrease transportation costs of commodities,” the Iranian foreign minister said.
During his stay in Tbilisi, the top Iranian diplomat held separate meetings with his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Janelidze, prime minister, President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze.