Sat Mar 4, 2017 04:37PM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C-3R) meets with ambassadors of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Tehran on March 4, 2017. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C-3R) meets with ambassadors of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Tehran on March 4, 2017. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says strengthening cooperation between the Islamic Republic and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on different issues will serve the interests of the region.

“The expansion of [Iran-CIS] cooperation, particularly in the energy sector, will turn the region into the world's energy capital,” Zarif said in a meeting with the CIS ambassadors in Tehran on Saturday.

He praised the 25th independence anniversary of these countries and noted that the formation of new states was regarded as one of the most important developments in the 20th century.

The top Iranian diplomat said enhancing energy cooperation “can turn this region into one of the most stable” areas in Asia.

Zarif further expressed concern over the increasing threat of extremism and terrorism in the region, saying, “Extremism and terrorism know no boundaries.”

He said the fight against terrorism needs collective efforts, adding that the Islamic Republic has provided its neighboring and friend countries with all facilities to help them attain stability, progress and security.

Iran regards the stability and security of the commonwealth states as its own, Zarif added, saying, the CIS countries “have great and strategic significance for Iran.”

Speaking as the doyen of the CIS, Turkmenistan’s ambassador hailed the 25th anniversary of the establishment of ties between Iran and the organization and described it as a new chapter in bilateral cooperation, which can offer ample opportunities for further cooperation.

He welcomed further development of ties between Iran and the commonwealth states in all fields.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is comprised of nine post-Soviet member states and two associate members.