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Politics

Iran, Belarus Vow To “Strengthen Cooperation” During Lukashenko’s Visit

March 13, 2023
2 min read
Lukashenko also met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who called on countries that have been sanctioned by the West to “destroy the weapon of sanctions through cooperation,” according to Iranian state TV
Lukashenko also met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who called on countries that have been sanctioned by the West to “destroy the weapon of sanctions through cooperation,” according to Iranian state TV
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (left) met with his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, during a two-day visit to Tehran (photo: Iranian Presidency/AFP)
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (left) met with his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, during a two-day visit to Tehran (photo: Iranian Presidency/AFP)

Iran and Belarus signed a roadmap to boost cooperation and seven memoranda of understandings in the fields of trade, transportation, agriculture and culture, Iranian state media report, at a time both Tehran and Minsk are sharply at odds with Western powers.

The documents were inked on March 13 during a two-day visit by Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko to Tehran. Belarus’s state-run news agency BelTa said it was Lukashenko’s first such visit in 17 years.

Speaking after meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the two countries “have the will to strengthen cooperation" and praised their "common strategic vision."

Lukashenko said Iran and Belarus "could be very helpful to each other if we really put our efforts together."

Lukashenko also met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who called on countries that have been sanctioned by the West to “destroy the weapon of sanctions through cooperation,” according to Iranian state TV.

The European Union, the United States and other countries have imposed restrictive measures against the regimes in Tehran and Minsk over their human rights violations, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and its supply of military drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine, among other things.

Ex-Soviet republic Belarus, a neighbor of Ukraine, serves as a rear base for Russian troops, and the United States has recently expressed alarm over a "dangerous" escalation in military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

Last week, the Iranian government said it has finalized a contract to buy Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

Lukashenko’s visit comes as Iran has been swept by more than five months of anti-government protests triggered by the September death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police.

Security forces have cracked down hard on the women-led protest movement, killing more than 520 people and unlawfully detaining over 20,000, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.

In Tehran, Lukashenko told Raisi that he has observed "with great respect the perseverance with which the [Iranian] people resist external pressures, attempts to impose the will of others on them."

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