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Iran, Cuba Forge Deeper Ties in Transport & Economic Cooperation

By Nigar Bayramli April 30, 2024

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Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash held a meeting with the visiting Minister of Transportation of Cuba Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila and the accompanying delegation in Tehran on April 27, 2024. / MEHR News Agency

The Iranian and Cuban transport ministers have discussed expanding maritime and air transportation cooperation.

Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash stated in a meeting with the visiting Cuban Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodriguez Davila, that “Havana is interested in Iranian technical capabilities in repairing planes, and the two countries will explore the prospects of this cooperation.”

“Cuba has already signed an agreement on purchasing rail carriage parts and repairing carriages with Iran’s Wagon Pars company,” IRNA news agency quoted Bazrpash on April 28 as saying.

In turn, the Cuban minister stated that this visit was to follow up on the agreements made between the two countries in the past and plan for new projects.

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed the use of Iranian ports, Iranian engineering and technical services in housing, roads, and rail construction. It was also decided to establish a twinning relationship between the two major ports of Iran and Cuba, enabling Cuban economic actors and maritime transport companies to benefit from Iranian ports.

The Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) is hosting a joint business forum of Iran and Cuba on April 30, with the participation of the state and private sectors of both countries.

The forum will focus on the potential of the markets as well as the trade and investment advantages of both Iran and Cuba. It will also be followed by meetings of Iranian and Cuban businesspeople active in different areas, including steel, mines, pharmaceuticals, renewable energies, and electricity.

Due to heavy US sanctions imposed on Iran, Tehran is working to strengthen ties with countries that share anti-Western perspectives. The Cuban economy has also been significantly affected by the US trade embargo.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, during his visit to Tehran in December 2023, stated that the Cuban government wanted Iran to become an “important economic actor for Cuba” and added that his country is open to whatever cooperation or investment the Iranian side chooses to offer.

During separate talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on December 4, the two countries pledged to strengthen their political and economic alliance aimed at resisting “US pressure” and economic sanctions against both countries.

Seven memorandums of understanding and cooperation documents were signed between the two countries in various sectors, including science and technology, health, agriculture, energy and mining, communications, and medicine during the Cuban president’s visit.

Last June, the Iranian president met his Cuban counterpart on the last stop of his Latin America tour, and the two sides discussed mechanisms of cooperation in the areas of biotechnology, technology, medicine, energy, justice, communications, and the economy.

Cuba, enduring a long-standing US trade embargo since the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, is actively strengthening ties with key allies such as Russia and China, both of which are also facing US sanctions. The island faces shortages of food, medicine, and fuel, while Iran is experiencing a depreciation of its currency and rampant inflation.

Iran has strategically cultivated alliances with various Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, for over four decades. Simultaneously, it has sought to influence the region by disseminating its ideology.