Rouhani: Strengthening multilateralism one of Iran's foreign policy priorities

Tehran, April 8, IRNA - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday called for strengthening multilateralism as one of the most important foreign policy priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Rouhani made the remarks at the online D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation on Thursday.

He highlighted that strengthening multilateralism is one of the most important foreign policy priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Referring to the coronavirus outbreak in the world, he said that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all the considerations and economic and developmental designs of countries and has confronted the international community with an uncertainty of the prospects ahead.

He added that the D8 member states will also be exposed to significant choices for cooperation in the post-Corona era, noting that the summit can put the D-8 member states and the secretariat of the organization on a clear path.

From the vantagepoint of convergence and business interaction, we are laying the foundations of free regional trade with neighboring countries and we will soon establish, together with the Eurasian countries, the first free-trade zone, he noted.

Notwithstanding its geographical dispersion, the D-8 Organisation enjoys tremendous capacities and bounties of, inter alia, human and natural resources, energy reserves, complementary economies, and avid private sectors, Rouhani pointed out. 

We all have more or less similar challenges on our paths to economic development. The last of these challenges is the COVID-19 pandemic which has upset the countries’ entire constellation of economic and developmental calculations and designs, projecting before the global community a form of uncertainty in their future prospects, he said.

The D-8 Member States have waiting for them around the corner important decisions to make in order for cooperation in the post-COVID era, he added.

President Rouhani said that ever since the dawn of the D-8, the Islamic Republic of Iran has endeavored to play its part in the accomplishment of the lofty objectives of the Organization. 

Such measures as the establishment of the D-8 International University and D-8 Technology Transfer and Exchange Network, which, combined, target two key areas of ‘education and human resource development and ‘development of technological cooperation’ among eight countries, are testimony to our efforts, he added.

We are fully prepared to participate in the operationalization of D-8 agreements in IT, trade facilitation, investment, agriculture, petrochemicals, science, health, tourism, and facilitation of visa issuance, he further noted.

Given the importance of foreign trade for national development and public welfare of the great people of D-8 Member States, I would like to stress that the current trade volume among the eight countries is a far cry from the actual trade potentials of the D-8. As such, it is necessary that certain mechanisms be developed for the facilitation and promotion of trade among the Member States, including through customs and banking facilities and mechanisms as also non-banking ones, he stated.

In this context, such proposed initiatives as a D-8 chamber of barter trade and D-8 credit cards may be helpful, he added.

An invaluable asset of the D-8 countries, in addition to their rich Islamic culture and immense human capital, is the huge market of the eight countries and – potentially – those of other Muslim countries, he said.

With such a market, it is possible to jointly invest in areas that demand large-scale investment and market. The large industrial and research and development mega-projects of modern economics that have already been studied and decided within the Organisation, deserve a revisit and serious action, he added.

Further to the disaster of COVID-19, unilateralism, economic terrorism and the way they have been addressed are among the issues that have stained the features of the international community.

Actions like these not only illegally and illegitimately target sovereign governments and independent nations, but are also a serious threat to the achievements of the international community, he underlined.

Rouhani went on to say that the World of Islam has fallen quarry to organized Islamophobia. This organized Islamophobia has not only targeted the sublime values of Islam, but it has also brought with it wider adverse economic and developmental consequences for Muslim countries.

He underscored that the US illegal and unilateral measures aimed to bring the great nation of Iran to its knees have failed and despite the strong headwind of colossal economic pressure, by relying on our own willpower and domestic might, we have managed to do great feats and make significant breakthroughs in various areas including the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts and consequences.

The luminous testament to the failure of the United States in the war it has waged on the Iranian people is that Iran, struggling with sanctions and the coronavirus combined, managed to secure an economic growth of more than 2 per cent in the year when the world economy shrank by 3.5 per cent and many a country experienced negative economic growth of -5 to -10 per cent, he added. 

In the past four years, the international community has witnessed as the US economic warfare against Iran has intensified. These oppressive sanctions have inflicted substantial damage to our country. The nuclear deal, which the US violated and maximally tried to obliterate, has been preserved owing to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s tactfulness, he pointed out. 

The US must return to the JCPOA, first, by lifting the sanctions and adopting practical arrangements; for that is the obligation of the same government that has reneged on the promise. The Islamic Republic of Iran will but respond to US action by positive action, Rouhani pointed out.

He reaffirmed the will of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the country’s public and private sectors to deepen cooperation within the framework of the D-8.

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