Iran, Turkey stress preserving bilateral trade ties under coronavirus pandemic guidelines

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in Sochi, Russia, November 22, 2017. (Handout photo via Reuters)

Iran and Turkey have called for maintaining bilateral trade relations while sticking to the health guidelines issued to rein in a new coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the two neighbors hard.

In a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani highlighted the Islamic Republic’s precious achievements in the fight against the outbreak, saying the officials from the two neighbors should interact with each other and share their experiences in this regard.

He also underlined the importance of continued Tehran-Ankara trade ties and enhanced contacts between the two countries’ economic sectors while observing all sanitary protocols.

“Iran and Turkey have proved that they have stood together in times of hardship and difficulty, and today, we should likewise help each other by forging closer cooperation,” he said.

Turkey has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus in the Middle East with more than 98,670 confirmed cases and 2,376 deaths.

Iran has reported almost 86,000 infections and a death toll of 5,391, while illegal US sanctions are impeding the country’s battle against the highly contagious virus.

Tehran has requested a $5-billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to rein in COVID-19, but the US — which dominates the IMF — has blocked the loan.
Elsewhere in his comments, Rouhani referred to the US’s sabotage attempts at the IMF as part of its pressure campaign and oppressive sanctions against the Iranian nation.

“Today, all countries should adopt a clear and decisive stance on the inhumane US pressures,” Rouhani said.

On the Syria peace efforts, he underscored the significance of three-way consultations among Iranian, Russian and Turkish authorities to implement the agreements reached within the framework of the Astana peace process on the Syria conflict.

“We should all make efforts to help the people of Syria and other regional nations enjoy stability, and I hope that, with the trio’s hard work, we will witness full security and peace in all countries and nations in the region,” he added.

Erdogan, for his part, expressed his opposition to the US sanctions against Iran and expressed hope that the international community will put up resistance in the face of American pressure.

Iran and Turkey, as two friendly and brotherly countries, will pass through these difficult times through cooperation, he ensured.

The Turkish president also hailed the Iranian government and nation’s “valuable” virus fight despite the problems they are facing, noting that trade between the two countries should continue in accordance with health guidelines and that officials must work toward that aim.

He further urged efforts to reach ceasefire and restore peace and stability in the region.