We can expand any area of cooperation between Iran and Kazakhstan in the economic sphere - Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran Gorban Seifi

ASTANA. February 22. KAZINFORM - People of the Islamic Republic of Iran, February 11 celebrated the 34th anniversary of the Day of the Islamic Revolution.In this occasion the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iran to Kazakhstan Gorban Seifi in conversation with our correspondent described the achievements of Iran in the years since the victory of the revolution, and his vision for future development of bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Iran.

- Mr. Ambassador, let me congratulate you on the remarkable date, the 34th anniversary of the Revolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Will you, please, answer the question? What role did the Islamic Revolution play in the development of your country? What do you consider the main achievement of Iran for the years after the Revolution?

- One of the most important achievements of the Islamic Revolution is independence and freedom. Currently, we are make decisions in the interest of the country and its people. The elections are held every year.

Important basis for the development of the country is training. These days we have more than 4 million students in the universities, and before the revolution the number of students amounted to about 160-170 thousand. That is, after the revolution, this number has increased to more than 25 times. Now, thanks to this, we see how our scientists, who, in the majority are young people, have made a lot of progress and success in various branches of science - in space, in the field of nuclear technology, nanotechnology and others. Accordingly, we have successfully developed our industry. For example, before the revolution in Iran around one million tons of steel had been founded during a year, and now the production capacity is equal to 20 million tons a year, which is to say an increase of 20 times. Before the revolution cement production corresponded to 7 million tons a year, and now it is 80 million tons per year. In almost all areas of production volumes increased by 10-20 times.
Nevertheless, the most important achievement of the revolution, to my mind, is independence and freedom. Due to the independence and freedom we have achieved prosperity.

- What place is given to Kazakhstan in the long-term plans of Iran and to our neighboring countries in Central Asia?

- I should say that on the basis of the criteria and assessments to determine the main directions of foreign policy, Kazakhstan has a special place in all of these areas. As an example, one of the priorities designated in the Constitution is harmonizing relations with Muslim countries. Kazakhstan is a country where Muslims live, it is an Islamic country. Another priority is building bridges with the neighboring countries, and Kazakhstan is our neighbor. It should be noted that the intention of the political will of the presidents of our countries is aimed to expanding and developing comprehensive partnership.

- In what areas should, in your opinion, political, economic and cultural cooperation between Kazakhstan and Iran develop?

-First of all, I would like to note that there are a lot of areas and opportunities for the development of cooperation between our countries. Currently, trade between Iran and Kazakhstan is 1.2 billion dollars. Previously, the figure was much lower. Trade between the two countries can be at once brought to 5 billion dollars, and in the future there is potential to increase it to 10 billion dollars. For example, we can significantly widen our cooperation in agriculture, in industry, especially food processing. There are opportunities for further collaboration in the field of transport and transit. Now there is a very large project being implemented to build a railroad from Kazakhstan to Iran via Turkmenistan. In the coming months, the project is to be completed. Practically we can expand any area of ​​cooperation that can be imagined in the economic sphere.

There are also many opportunities for cooperation, for instance, in the field of culture, because of the fact that there is much in common in this field between the two countries.

- Today what products are prevalent in supplies from Kazakhstan to Iran, and what is imported from Iran to Kazakhstan?

- Kazakhstan exports to Iran mainly grain and its products, as well as steel. From Iran imported are food products, building materials - ceramics, tiles, and various plastic articles. As I have mentioned earlier, we can significantly expand cooperation in the field of agriculture. In particular, Iran cultivates good quality apples, different types of flowers, herbs and vegetables. When it comes to storage of such products, Iranian companies can invest in building storage houses.

- In what areas Iranian companies are doing business in Kazakhstan at present?

- Right now Iranian companies are mainly engaged in the engineering projects of technical nature, in construction including road building. There is also a factory to produce copper tubes in Karaganda, there are projects in the poultry industry, and one telecommunications project.

As you know, this autumn the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation is scheduled in Tehran. I hope that the meeting will give a new impetus to further expansion and deepening the partnership between our two countries.

- Thank you for the interview, Mr. Seifi.

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