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Trade in focus as Iran’s Zarif visits Turkey

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is in Turkey on a working visit to discuss, among other things, breathing a new life into the two countries’ trade ties that have been hit hard by the new coronavirus’ pandemic.

“The countries’ ties are close in various areas. During my trip to Turkey, we will talk with the country’s authorities about the resumption of economic relations following the coronavirus,” he said upon landing in Ankara.

The volume of trade exchanges between Iran and Turkey declined significantly in the first quarter of 2020 amid the viral spread and the United States’ illegal sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s economic relations with the outside world, the Tehran Chamber of Commerce reported in a survey last month.

Bilateral trade topped a total value of $645 million at the end of March, a decline of 70 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019, the study said.

Zarif said relations with neighbors constitute a foreign policy priority for the Islamic Republic, something that prompted him to visit Syria in April, in his first visit since the emergence of the pandemic, and now Turkey.

The close nature of Iran and Turkey’s relations necessitates continuous bilateral consultations, Zarif added.

The foreign minister’s meetings with Turkish officials are also expected to address energy ties as well as dominant regional and international issues.