Bulgaria, Iran discuss transport, energy co-operation
During a visit to Tehran by a Bulgarian delegation led by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Bulgaria and Iran have signed bilateral agreements on boosting co-operation on mutual investment, transport and communications and co-operation between the SMEs of the two countries.
Borissov and Eshaq Jahangiri, first vice-president in Hassan Rouhani’s government, discussed topics of mutual interest including the construction of transport infrastructure, and the development of co-operation in energy and agriculture, the Bulgarian government media service said.
The visit by the Bulgarian delegation to Iran is the most high-level in many years. It is also the first such visit by a Bulgarian delegation since the Iran nuclear deal, which saw a lifting of UN and Western sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit stockpiles of nuclear materials.
Borissov told reporters that there was “political will” between Iran and Bulgaria to deepen the relationship between the two countries.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister said that his country attaches great importance to developing ties with Iran, and highlighted trade, energy and tourism as promising areas of cooperation.
He said that there had been discussions on a proposal for a new transport corridor between the Gulf and the Black Sea, linking Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Bulgaria.
There would be a meeting in Sofia within two weeks among officials from the four countries to discuss the project, Borissov said.
In Borissov’s words, Bulgaria could take up such a transport corridor via the ports in Bourgas and Varna, and from there it could reach the whole of Europe throught the country’s existing infrastructure.
Bulgaria’s idea of becoming a gas transit hub would be discussed at the meeting, Borissov said, referring to a pet project of his, about which he began speaking repeatedly after Russia said that it was shutting down the South Stream project.
Borissov said that he and Jahangiri also spoke about nuclear energy and Bulgaria’s potential in this sphere, including in terms of a nuclear reactor. The topic would be discussed in more detail at a meeting of the two countries’ energy ministers later on July 11, Borissov said.
Jahangiri said that the ongoing talks on co-operation on energy sources, oil processing and agriculture were very important.
The meeting also discussed the possibility of assisting Iran with regard to the problem of bank payments. “I made a commitment to raise the issue at different levels, including at the European Council,” Borissov said.
Bulgaria and Iran will co-operate in the development of policies on fast internet, management of internet resources and postal services, according to a memorandum signed on July 11 by Bulgarian Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Vaezi.
The memorandum reflects the priority areas that will be the subject of co-operation in information technology and communications. Among the main objectives of the bilateral cooperation between Bulgaria and Iran, which will be achieved with the signing of the document, are development platforms for standardization in the sector and co-operation in the field of information society services such as e-commerce, according to a statement by Moskovski’s ministry.