By Ron Amber
The cruel sanctions imposed by the United States are too weak to undermine the determination of Iran to pursue the policy of maximum interaction with neighboring and regional countries, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said.
In an address to the 15th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), held in Ashgabat on Sunday, Raisi reiterated Iran’s unconditional support for the ECO and its activities.
He emphasized that the US’ cruel sanctions against Iran are too impotent to undermine Tehran’s determination to proceed with its policy of maximum interaction with the neighbors and regional states.
“By withdrawing from the JCPOA illegally, imposing the illegal and unilateral sanctions, and establishing the policy of ‘maximum cruelty’, the United States proved that its interests are incompatible with the collective interests of our region,” Raisi added.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches special priority to economic cooperation and partnership with Asian countries, especially its neighbors in South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus,” he said.
“Undoubtedly, strengthening the role and position of regional organizations as facilitators of bilateral and multilateral cooperation is one of our concerns and efforts, one of the clear manifestations of which is the Economic Cooperation Organization,” he stated.
“In addition to enjoying the material features of power, such as the population of half a billion, the ownership of one third of the world’s energy resources, the unique position for Europe-China connection with the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, the young and powerful human resources, the ECO entails a privileged identity called Islam,” Raisi noted.
“We are not only capable neighbors, but also inheritors and at the same time promote a genuine identity emanating from Islamic culture that is able to lead the future of humanity in the brightest state and can also promote spiritual growth and vitality through the cooperation of all,” he added.
“Over the years, good achievements and progress have been achieved in the ECO, but there is still a significant gap between the successes achieved and the real capacities and capabilities of the organization. For example, despite high trade potentials, intra-regional trade is still less than 10%,” he said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as an important country, seeks to improve the level of cooperation in ECO and to raise the rank and status of this organization in regional and international relations. We believe that there are effective tools for the promotion of the organization that, if the efforts of the members are shared, can ensure the well-being of future generations in addition to the material progress of the countries,” he noted.
Referring to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the president said, “Now we need the collective intervention of member states to remove the destructive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from the region and promote the relations and interaction between us with appropriate speed and with the help of experiences in the field of health and education and the production of medicine,” he noted.