Assad’s foreign minister, Faisal al-Mekdad, arrived in Tehran on Sunday leading a “large” delegation and is set to initiate a series of meetings addressing both economic and political matters simultaneously.
Mekdad’s visit to Tehran coincides with an unprecedented living crisis in Syria, marked by a rapid deterioration in the value of the Syrian pound.
This visit follows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s trip to Damascus three months ago, during which he announced a set of economic agreements targeting various sectors.
On Monday, Iranian and Syrian media reported that Mekdad arrived in Tehran alongside a high-ranking Syrian political and economic delegation, including the ministers of economy, foreign trade, communications, and technology.
Accompanying Mekdad are Ambassador Mohamed Haj Ibrahim, Director of the Afro-Asian Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jamal Najib, Director of the Minister’s Office, and Rana Hassan Agha from the Minister’s Office.
“Iran’s big share”
The semi-official newspaper Al-Watan reported that Mekdad is scheduled to meet his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on Monday. The meeting aims to discuss strengthening relations between the two countries and address the latest developments in the regional and international arenas. They will also consult on current issues of mutual interest.
On the economic front, the accompanying economic delegation is engaged in a series of meetings with Iranian government officials and major economic companies operating in various fields in Iran.
Economy Minister Mohammed Samer al-Khalil stated that the purpose of the current visit is to elevate economic relations between the two countries to the desired level. The delegation is also working on completing the agreements announced by Raisi during his visit to Damascus last May, focusing on the implementation of joint projects.
According to ISNA, the visit of Mekdad and the political and economic delegation is intended to follow up on the agreements signed by Raisi with Bashar al-Assad.
Experts emphasized that Iran has taken numerous measures in recent years to support the Syrian government and people and combat terrorism in the country. As such, it is crucial for Iran to assert its appropriate and significant share in various projects.
The Russian government, which has had a military presence in Syria in recent years, is now involved in important projects such as equipping the port of Tartoous for export and import to Syria, as well as oil and gas exploration.
China has also signed preliminary agreements related to Syria’s accession to the Belt and Road project. Additionally, countries like the UAE and Turkey are showing interest in Syrian markets and participating in the Syrian reconstruction process, as reported by the Iranian agency.
What did Raisi sign?
In May, the Syrian regime’s SANA news agency reported that Iranian President Raisi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had signed several memorandums of understanding, marking a significant step in long-term comprehensive strategic cooperation. The agreements encompassed areas such as oil, railways, agriculture, and others.
Raisi’s visit to Damascus held historical significance, as he was the first Iranian president to visit Syria since 2010. Throughout the war years, Tehran had consistently provided political, military, and economic support to Syria.
At the conclusion of the visit, Raisi and Assad jointly expressed their commitment to developing trade and economic relations, underscoring their existing cooperation in Syria’s reconstruction efforts.
The two presidents engaged in in-depth discussions aimed at enhancing bilateral relations, building upon their strong brotherly and strategic ties.
During his participation in a businessmen’s forum in Damascus, Raisi emphasized that his visit would be a turning point in Iranian-Syrian relations, significantly impacting the region and the trade and economic ties between the two nations.
Raisi emphasized the importance of elevating economic activity to match the level of political relations between Iran and Syria, calling for a substantial leap forward in trade relations.
Earlier, within the framework of a comprehensive long-term strategic cooperation plan, the two parties had signed 15 cooperation documents, further solidifying their commitment to collaboration.
The Assad regime’s presidency had previously reported that discussions between the two presidents included economic measures, focusing on areas like power plants, energy, tourism, joint investment projects, and the expedited establishment of a joint bank to facilitate trade exchange.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.