Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said his country is ready to expand cooperation with Turkmenistan in roadbuilding and utilities sectors.
"In the field of trade, a greater capacity exists for the expansion of (bilateral) cooperation, particularly in road building and sectors related to water, electricity and gas,” Khamenei said during a meeting with Chairman of Turkmen People's Council Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow on May 31, the supreme leader’s official website reported.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for cooperation in these areas," he added.
Khamenei responded positively to Berdimuhamedow's request for Iranian expertise in completing a highway, saying that the Iranian Ministry of Roads had the ability to build this motorway.
"In light of the importance of road and rail transport in the global economy, we are determined to complete the North-South transit route, which can connect Turkmenistan and its neighbors to the Sea of Oman," the Iranian leader added.
The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe. The route primarily involves moving freight via ship, rail and road, linking St Petersburg in Russia to India via Iran and the Gulf of Oman.
In turn, Berdimuhamedow referred to the results of the Turkmen high delegation’s trip to Iran, saying that negotiations with Iranian officials had yielded "good agreements for the expansion of cooperation, particularly in the deployment of the abilities of Iranian specialists and experts in road building and in the fields of water, electricity and gas".
In a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on May 30, Berdimuhamedow stressed the importance of Iran's railway construction in rebuilding Afghanistan's economy and expressed confidence that infrastructure projects were an investment not only for Afghanistan, but also for the entire region.
They exchanged views on regional issues "at this time of complex global processes" and in the context of "the growing role of the Central Asian region," according to Turkmenistan Today.
The two leaders also discussed cooperation in the Caspian Sea, and noted that Caspian Sea issues play an important role in both political and economic relations between Turkmenistan and Iran.
They also agreed that the geopolitical processes taking place in the region today require intensified joint efforts to strengthen regional security.
On May 30, Berdimuhamedow and Raisi attended the signing ceremony of two cooperation documents and three memoranda of understanding, covering transit, energy and electricity, agricultural exports, education and investment.
The main agreement was a deal for Turkmenistan's gas export to Iran, according to which, Tehran will import 10 million cubic meters of gas per day from Turkmenistan. Iran's Oil Minister Javad Owji said his country has the capacity to swap and transit up to 50 million cubic meters of gas per day, and Tehran is planning to increase its share of gas trade in the region.
Iran has fully settled its debts to Turkmenistan. Iran's $2 billion debt to Turkmenistan stemmed from a ruling made by the International Court of Arbitration in 2020. Turkmenistan sued Iran over its failure to pay for the gas it imported between 2007 and 2013.