EghtesadOnline: Iran’s high-ranking political and economic delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, completed the last leg of its East Europe tour on Saturday after focusing on resolving banking issues hampering bilateral relations.
The delegation, also including businessmen and entrepreneurs from the private and public sectors headed by Masoud Khansari, director of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, arrived in the Serbian capital Belgrade last Monday for the first leg of the tour that also took them to Bulgaria, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
They met with a group of prominent entrepreneurs and traders while they were hosted by high-level political and trade officials in Croatia, and by private sector players in Bosnia, according to Financial Tribune.
“Facilitating banking relations is one of the necessities of connecting the private sectors of both countries while easing the process of issuing visas and establishing bilateral flights will help our citizens,” Zarif was quoted as saying in Croatia by the official news portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
Khansari said “trade cannot be conducted but with the transfer of money and this cannot be realized except through smooth banking relations and coordination between high-level officials of both countries”, calling on his Croatian counterparts to put the development of banking affairs on top of their agenda.
According to TCCIM chief, Zarif’s efforts have prepared the ground for a “direct link” between the central and commercial banks of Iran and Croatia, stressing that “there is hope that this will soon lead to cooperation”.
The leading private sector figure also proposed the establishment of direct flights between the two countries to facilitate bilateral business ties, in addition to easing banking transactions.
“The fact that the chambers of commerce of both countries have recently agreed to form a joint committee can prove to be a milestone for better relations,” he said.
Zarif also said Iran is now in a position to become a suitable partner for Croatian private sector companies in shipbuilding, oil, gas, energy and tourism sectors.
“Iran is able to send to and welcome tourists from Croatia, while Croatian tourism companies can play an active role in providing Iranian infrastructures,” he added.
In Bosnia, Khansari said that in light of the historical precedence of cooperation between Iran and the European nation from the start of its independence, “it is unacceptable that we have problems in banking transactions”. He called on high-level officials at the meeting to strive to improve ties between the private sectors of the two countries.
He also invited his counterparts to travel to Tehran for bolstering bilateral ties.
Both Khansari and Zarif stressed the importance of tourism links and said if tourists and traders are able to travel more easily, the chances of expanding relations will increase.