Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said that Iran is “a reliable partner” for his country.
“Our country has always lived in peace and harmony with its neighbors. Iran is our closest neighbor in the Caspian Sea region and a reliable partner,” President Tokayev said on Sunday during one-to-one talks with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran as part of his first official visit to Iran.
Referring to wide-range cooperation between the two countries, the Kazakh president added that “this is the result of political dialogue based on mutual trust.”
“Despite the existing barriers, trade and economic cooperation are expanding significantly. In the first half of this year, the trade increased by 50 percent,” the president said, adding that he was “ready to make every effort to promote the cooperation.”
As part of the meeting with President Raisi, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also said that Kazakhstan was about to introduce a 14-day visa-free regime for Iranian citizens. According to him, the measure aims to “expand cooperation in various areas, including stepping up contacts among representatives of business circles and attracting a large number of tourists.”
Meanwhile, while addressing the meeting, President Raisi said that one of the priorities for the Iranian government “is to play an effective role in increasing regional integration by expanding trade through Iranian lands as a secure route, reasonably priced, and quick.” Ebrahim Raisi believes Iran can also be a transit route connecting east and south Asia to Europe.
According to the Iranian president, trade relations between the two countries have increased by more than 50 percent in recent months. In the first step, he added, the two countries can increase the volume of transactions at the current level to $3 billion.
In addition, Raisi said that Iran and Kazakhstan could extend relations in the fields of industry, agriculture, energy, transit, and oil and gas, as well as make more efforts for cultural development due to their cultural and civilizational backgrounds.
“In addition to bilateral relations, we are determined to expand regional relations between the two countries. The cooperation between the two countries in regional organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Union could increase in the region,” the president said.
Iran and Kazakhstan also agreed “to make full use of the transport and transit potential between the two countries.”
Nine cooperation documents and a memorandum of understanding were signed between the two countries in the presence of the presidents. The documents cover transport, logistics, energy, railways, trade, agriculture, cultural, and scientific exchange.
Later that day, a rail transit link was officially launched to boost cargo transportation between Asia and Europe. Via a video conference, President Raisi ordered the transit of a consignment from Kazakhstan through the Iranian railway to Türkiye. President Tokayev also attended the ceremony to launch the project known as the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran transit railway.
The Iran-Kazakhstan transit pact signed on May 23 also requires cargo from China to Europe to switch to the Iranian route. Before this, Chinese cargo was transported to Europe via Russia by a land route north of the Caspian Sea.
At a meeting with the Kazakh president on June 19, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, described the expansion of economic and political coordination as a key aim between the two countries, saying that “the two sides must redouble their efforts to reach and implement agreements.”
In his turn, President Tokayev said that the understandings reached during his visit to Iran could lay the ground for a further deepening of the bilateral relationship.