Uzbekistan Today continues to acquaint its readers with newly appointed heads of diplomatic missions. In this issue, our guest is the Ambassador of Iran to Uzbekistan, Bahman Agarazi Dormani, who has shared with us his plans for 2016.
Mr. Ambassador, you have completed all the official procedures for assuming your position as Chief of Mission. Have you determined short-term goals already?
“It has been four months since I arrived in Uzbekistan. In December last year, I presented credentials to the president of Uzbekistan and officially took up the post. I am the seventh Ambassador of Iran in Uzbekistan and I am ready to do everything within my means to build on the experience that previous chiefs of mission have garnered. I think that considering their success and experiences, today, together with the Uzbek side, we will be able to achieve the results we are aiming at.
I should note that I took up my new appointment with big pleasure because at the time I was already acquainted with this country. I had been lucky enough to participate in parliamentary elections in Uzbekistan as an observer and I was struck by the people’s eagerness to vote for the continuation of the policy the country pursues, as well as for continuation of the course the Republic has been following since it gained independence. On the whole, elections have demonstrated their destiny and future.
In any case, unanimity among people has inspired me to take a proactive stand on the promotion of bilateral cooperation and has given me confidence that my efforts will produce results.
Uzbekistan and Iran are two neighboring countries that share historical, cultural and religious features, and if we listen to Uzbek speech, we may notice a lot of similar sounds from Persian speech. It is no coincidence that Uzbekistan has given the world prominent scholars and thinkers who gained global fame. All these factors determine our interest in Uzbek people. Therefore, Iran was one of the first countries to support Uzbekistan’s independence and established diplomatic relations with it. And today we are very interested in this young country’s further growth and prosperity.”
Which areas of cooperation are you planning to focus on?
“Certainly, I have already defined priority areas of cooperation for myself. And I put trade and economic relations at the forefront. Primarily, despite the rich potential and opportunities, our trade volume remains at a low level. According to the statistics of my country, as of 2014, the figure stood at $204 million. This low figure can be explained by the sanctions imposed on our country, which, as you know, have been recently lifted. I think we now have more opportunities to develop trade.
Today, Iran holds leading positions in the production of some industrial goods. Having big opportunities in economy, industry and agriculture, our country is ready to share experience and to contribute to the development of countries that surround us in every possible way. Of course, in order to make investments in this country, we need to explore the Uzbek market and get appropriate information on the economic and investment climate in the country.
I can’t omit to mention one of the main factors that has a direct impact on the development of our economic relations – transport arteries. There are some barriers in this sphere, but during talks with President Islam Karimov, he pointed out that these barriers can be overcome, and outlined the accurate line of development of our relations. These are transport communications, and cooperation’s on economy, industry and technologies.
Considering that Uzbekistan is a land-locked country, we are ready to provide it with access to the sea. The adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding on implementation of the Agreement on the establishment of the international transport and transit corridor “Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran – Oman” came as one of the important steps in this direction for both countries. Following closely the speeches of Islam Karimov, I have noticed that the president often focuses on localization of production in various economic sectors. Based on this, we want to ensure that our trading and economic relations are not limited to exports and imports, and contribute to the implementation of tasks set forth by the President of Uzbekistan.
Given that the Islamic Republic of Iran gives great attention to the development of industrial production in the neighboring countries, we are ready to supply modern technological equipment, promote development of high-tech production lines, and support the introduction of know-how. It is more convenient for us to achieve this geographically than, say, deal with more remotely located for distance countries and at more affordable prices.”
What do you think about the creation of joint production?
“We see that Uzbekistan is endowed with a great economic potential and are thinking of ways to attract the Iranian business community’s attention to the Uzbek market. Presently, Uzbekistan is home to a handful of joint companies in the field of logistics and transportation, but now that sanctions have been lifted, great opportunities are opening for us. Most importantly, we have mutual aspirations to develop our relations. I am planning to visit Uzbek regions to learn more about the potential of the Republic. In the near future, perhaps in March, I will go to see different cities, to familiarize myself with economic opportunities in the region. Then I want to visit free economic and industrial zones in Navoi, Angren and Jizzakh. We recently had successful talks with representatives of Uzbek air services in Tehran, where the parties reached preliminary agreements to set up freight communication between Khomeini International Airport and Navoi International Airport for the use of the Iranian airport as a transit point for further transportation of Uzbek goods.
By the way, the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, attaches a great deal of importance to the development of relations with Central Asian countries. And Uzbekistan is very conveniently located in the heart of Central Asia, which could be useful to the development of transport communications between Iran and countries of the region.”
Uzbekistan has recently adopted the State Program “Year of Healthy Mother and Child”. What do you think about it?
“I was fortunate to attend an official event on the occasion of Constitution Day in Uzbekistan, where President Islam Karimov delivered a very meaningful speech. And after the announcement of 2016 as a Year of Healthy Mother and Child, the president spoke about the reason behind the decision, which I fully agree with. We, Iranians and Uzbeks, are representatives of oriental nations and we give priority to the family, women and, of course, children. We fully support this implementation of this State Program.
It is interesting to note that Iran also observes the tradition of devoting each year to a particular theme. At the beginning of the New Year, that is, with the advent of Nowruz, the leaders of Iran announces the new name of a year. Our two countries share this tradition because we believe that during this period the Government and people should focus on supporting areas that need special attention.”