Monday

26th Aug 2019

Greek PM strenghtens ties with Iran

  • Tsipras (l) met with Iranian leader Khamenei (Photo: Greek PM office)

Greece and Iran pledged on Monday (8 February) to strengthen the political and economic cooperation between their two countries in a series of meetings where Iran's geopolitical importance was emphasised.

During a two-day visit to Ispahan and Tehran with business leaders, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece wanted to become "an energy, economic and trade bridge between Iran and European Union”. He was the first EU leader to go to Iran since the lifting of UN sanctions last month.

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A few days before the visit, Hellenic Petroleum and the National Iranian Oil Company agreed on the first oil deal for Iran since the sanctions were lifted. In Tehran, the Iranian oil minister said Iran planned to sell 300,000 barrels per day to Europeans.

Iran held discussions with the Greek delegation on more cooperation in fields such as the financial sector, medicine and health, culture and education, infrastructure, transport and the construction industry.

The two countries signed a memorandum for political deliberations and a roadmap for the improvement of bilateral cooperation.

“This visit can be a good start for increasing exchanges and long-term cooperation between the two countries," Iranian leader Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with Tsipras, praising Greece for its "independent policy and line".

Tsipras, who has tried to develop ties with countries like Russia and China, for his part, praised the Iranian people's "determining role in history and also in defending their ideals and independence".

Terrorism

Faced with a massive influx of refugees coming from Syria or Afghanistan through Turkey, the Greek PM also said in a meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani that Iran could "play a role in stabilising the wider region from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean".

The Iranian president, who is trying to give his country international respectability despite its support of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, said his country was ready to help in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

“Iran is ready to expand its cooperation with the EU and Greece,” Rouhani said.

Tsipras' visit to Iran comes ahead of a planned visit by EU experts to explore energy ties, and after a trip by Rouhani to Italy and France, where several commercial contracts, including on energy and one for more than 100 Airbus aircraft, were signed.

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