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Iran To Become Major Player in Silk Road Belt

Aug. 24, 2016 (EIRNS)—A week-long forum in Tehran on the “Silk Road Economic Belt” indicated great enthusiasm for this project, which is quickly catching on in the Middle East.

The conference was opened by Ahmad Mohammadi, the head of the Iran-China Friendship Association. Mohammadi said the interaction between the two countries has long existed, but has taken new dimensions with the initiative.

"The proposal has been well received in Iran, and the Islamic republic is preparing to accept the proposal," Mohammadi said. In order to implement the project, he said, the first step is to establish a secretariat of the project in China, adding that this can be followed by sessions of the secretariat with the representatives from the participation states.

Mohammed Reza Dashiri, the head of the international department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said the Belt and Road is aimed at creating a friendly environment for a better neighborhood in terms of political, economical and security dimensions.

“The Islamic republic is determined to actively participate in the project, and believes that joining the plan would help the regional and international economic development,”

Dahshiri said.

The China-proposed initiative could promote interaction between the Iranians and Chinese and can be a turning point with win-win venture in bilateral ties, Mohammad H. Emadi, advisor to Iran’s Agricultural Ministry, told Xinhua in an interview. The Belt and Road Initiative is "a new paradigm and a turning point in the relationship between Iran and China and among all central Asian states," Emadi said.

“Since some financial sanctions by the West against Iran are still in place, it would be a good idea to develop mechanisms for transactions between Iran on the one hand and China and other countries involved in the initiative on the other,”

said Mohsen Shariati Nia, a professor at Tehran Shahid Beheshti University.

“In addition, the private sectors of both countries should engage in strategic cooperation and investment projects, so that short-term trade ties could grow into comprehensive economic interactions.”

He said Iran’s role in the "Silk Road Initiative" should be more than a mere link between East and West. "Iran should play a key role as a partner of China, which will result in the strategic cooperation," Shariati Nia said.

Concurrently with the conference, Tehran is also hosting a cultural festival called “2016 Experiencing China in Iran, showcasing northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and featuring a photo exhibition, music and dance performances, and other cultural activities.

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