Iran and Belarus have signed a cooperation roadmap document during a state visit by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to Tehran. Lukashenko arrived in the Iranian capital late on Sunday and was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday. The visit comes as the two countries mark 30 years of official diplomatic relations.
The two presidents and their delegations held talks, at the end of which they signed eight agreements on trade, mining, and transportation, among other things. Raisi described the comprehensive roadmap between Iran and Belarus as outlining political and economic conditions and encompassing all areas of interest between the two countries.
During a joint conference with Lukashenko following the talks, Raisi declared that Tehran has turned United States and Western sanctions into opportunities for itself and is ready to share its experiences of dealing with the sanctions with “friendly” Belarus. Both countries oppose “unilateralism”. Lukashenko also met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
The presidents did not speak during the conference about Russia, which both consider a close ally, especially following the war in Ukraine. Both have been targeted by Western sanctions, with Tehran being blamed for sending armed drones to Russia for use in the war, something it has denied.
Belarus has been ruled by Lukashenko for 30 years. In that time, he has been accused by human rights organisations of suppressing dissent, most recently sentencing an opposition leader to 15 years in prison. Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that sanctions could be turned into an opportunity and added that he was looking forward to expanding economic relations with Iran. The two agreed to set a target of $100m for bilateral trade this year.
“Iran and Belarus both want to see a just, multipolar world,” Lukashenko said. “The two countries fully trust each other, and their two nations also support expanding relations.”