Greek PM Visits Iran for ‘Strategic Cooperation’

743FBF247B20539DB7CAC41E0B2D957FGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his official visit to Tehran aims at establishing economic, trade and energy ties between Iran and Greece, and subsequently with the European Union.

Greece can act as a conduit for establishing economic, trade and energy ties between Iran and the EU, Tsipras said on Sunday, the first day of a two-day visit to the country.

Tsipras spoke of a “strategic cooperation” with Iran, during his visit to the Pardis Technology Park (PTP), where he noted that the two countries could collaborate in the areas of technology and innovation, energy, trade, culture and shipping.

The Greek premier made the remarks in a meeting with chairman of Pardis Technological Park Mehdi Safari-Nia while touring the region.

The PTP president Mahdi said that Tsipras was “the most independent leader in Europe” and explained that the PTP’s membership included 30 hi-tech companies employing more than 3,000 scientists.

Safari-Nia said the Greek PM’s visit could be the start of cooperation between the two countries in technology, noting that Iran currently ranked seventh in the world in the development of nanotechnology.

The PTP chairman also invited Greek companies involved in research and technology to participate in a major innovation and technology exhibition taking place in Iran in May.

Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has provided suitable grounds for promotion of relations and cooperation between the two countries, said the Greek premier.

Tsipras also referred to the historic bonds between the two countries and noted that the Greek Government had made a choice to develop ties of a strategic nature with Iran. “Our two countries are joined by the important bonds of two strong cultures but we can also be joined in the future through cooperation in a series of areas, such as new technologies,” he said.

Tsipras also noted that Greece has an independent foreign policy and, in spite of currently dealing with an economic crisis and the Syrian refugee crisis, was spreading its wings to cooperate with important countries in the region, such as Iran.

About 60 Greek business representatives have accompanied the Prime Minister to Iran, with a number of bilateral agreements expected to be signed on Monday. Deals on energy, in particular, are expected to be signed.

According to a Greek government source, Athens estimates that Iran wants safe and reliable access to the Mediterranean and Balkans, something which Greece can provide as a bastion on stability in the region. Athens is also encouraged by the fact that Tehran has not raised any objections or suspicions over the trilateral agreements between Greece and Cyprus with Egypt and Israel respectively.

Tsipras is the first western country leader to visit Iran after the country reached an agreement on its nuclear program in July. The last Greek prime minister who had visited Tehran was Konstantinos Mitsotakis in 1992.