By: Trends Editorial Team
H.E.Bakhodir Abdullayev, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan
The history of Uzbek-Iranian relations goes back to the distant past. After Uzbekistan gained independence, relations between the countries received a new meaning and began to develop consistently.
The Islamic Republic of Iran recognized the independence of Uzbekistan on 25 December 1991. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on May 10, 1992.
The diplomatic mission of Iran started its activity in Tashkent in November 1992, the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Tehran opened in May 1995.
The leaders of the two countries have a firm will to raise the level of relations in accordance with the requirements of the time. Thanks to the political will of the leaders of the two states, in recent years, Uzbek-Iranian relations have gained a new dynamic of development.
The meetings of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi gave a powerful impetus to deepening comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
Each high-level visit is an important milestone in the development of bilateral relations. On September 14-16, 2022, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi paid an official visit to Uzbekistan. The visit of Ebrahim Raisi to Uzbekistan was of a historical nature, since this was the first trip of an Iranian president to Uzbekistan over the past 20 years and 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Within the framework of this visit, Uzbek-Iranian high-level talks were held in Samarkand that resulted in a joint Uzbek-Iranian statement being adopted, 17 documents were signed aimed at enhancing cooperation in the field of agriculture, energy, customs, technology, environment, science, tourism and business. Ebrahim Raisi invited the President of Uzbekistan to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran at a convenient time for him.
The President of Iran also took part in the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States. Iran has signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to obtain the status of a member state of the SCO. Regular high-level talks testify to the interest and readiness of the two countries to strengthen and develop various areas of the bilateral agenda, and create a solid foundation for Uzbek-Iranian cooperation. In recent years, many official visits of representatives of the two countries have taken place, which contributed to the strengthening and development of friendship between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Uzbek-Iranian political consultations are held regularly on the level of Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The last 6th round took place on March 7-9, 2021 in Tehran. The expansion of trade and economic ties is one of the key priorities of bilateral relations. Last year, the trade turnover between Iran and Uzbekistan amounted to $435.7 million. In January-April this year, bilateral trade amounted to $186.2 million, which is almost 11% more than the same period in 2022 – $166.5 million.
The main export products of Uzbekistan to the Islamic Republic of Iran are yarn, mineral fertilizer, chemical fiber, and imports consist of building materials, electromechanical equipment, fruits, dried fruits, and plastic products.
On February 20-21, 2022, the 14th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation between Uzbekistan and Iran was held in Tehran.
The meeting was co-chaired from the Uzbek side by Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov, and from the Iranian side – Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade of the Islamic Republic of Iran Reza Fatemi-Amin. The meeting was also attended by heads of key ministries and departments of the two countries.
On May 31, 2023, the 15th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation (IGC) between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran was held in Tashkent.
The event was co–chaired by Laziz Kudratov, Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan on behalf of the Uzbek side and Seyyed Mahdi Niazi, Acting Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the Iranian side.
The signing of documents between Iran and Uzbekistan in culture, tourism, science and technology has become a new phenomenon in relations between the two countries. Every year, representatives of Iran participate in cultural events held in Uzbekistan, including “Maqom”, “Sharq taronalari”, “Pahlavon Mahmud – Bahodirlar o‘yini” and others.
The treaty and legal basis of bilateral relations consists of 77 intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements in the political, trade, economic and cultural spheres.
A simplified visa regime introduced between Uzbekistan and Iran. On October 13, 2022, the agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the simplification of visa procedures for representatives of business and scientific circles and tourist groups came into force. This agreement was signed during the official visit of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Uzbekistan on September 14, 2022.
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