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Iran strengthens ties to Central Asia with Uzbekistan deals

The two states pledged to cooperate on energy, transportation and more, including the strategic Chabahar port.
Iran uzbekistan

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Uzbekistan on Wednesday with the goal of improving relations with the Central Asian country. 

Iran and Uzbekistan signed 17 agreements to boost cooperation in agriculture, energy, customs, technology, the environment, tourism, business, visas and science, according to a release from Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry also mentioned an agreement to work together on transportation via Iran’s Chabahar port in the Gulf of Oman.

Why it matters: Iran has been especially prioritizing its relations with Central Asian states recently. Last month, Iran announced a major increase in its trade with Turkmenistan. In June, Iran and Kazakhstan inaugurated a new railway network meant to boost Eurasian trade. 

The agreements also further exemplify Iran’s efforts to seek foreign interest in the Chabahar port. The Islamic Republic has also sought Chinese and Indian investment in the port recently. 

Know more: In 2020, Iran exported $103 million to Uzbekistan, while Uzbekistan exported $137 million to Iran. This was out of a total $10.8 billion Iranian exports and $25.3 billion exports that year, according to the US-based Observatory of Economic Complexity. The organization has yet to release data for 2021. 

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