[Viewpoint] In the name of GodIn 2012, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During the last half a century, the two countries have enjoyed constructive relations which have been predicated on mutual respect and interests.
Over the past 50 years, the ties between the two countries have expanded in different areas and witnessed growth and blossoming as the two sides became more familiar with each other’s capacities. Iran, as the second largest exporter of oil in OPEC, possesses 7 percent of the world energy reserves. Iran has always been a reliable and stable supplier of oil - as well as nonoil products - to Korea.
Korea has also played an active role in implementing development projects in Iran and as such has taken a sizable share in Iran’s goods and services market. During the past years the two countries have jointly invested in various industrial areas including manufacturing of cars, home appliances and electronic products as well as other industrial and manufacturing fields.
The volume of trade relations between the two countries has witnessed a historical increase, reaching from $11.5 billion in 2010 to $18.5 billion in 2011. It shows a 60 percent growth in the trade exchanges of the two countries. In addition to trade and economic ties, the two countries have developed valuable cooperation in the diplomatic, international, cultural, scientific and academic fields.
To mention a few, one can refer to the establishment of the Iranology and Persian language courses in Hankuk University, exchange of professors and cultural troupes, holding cultural and artistic festivals in the two countries, swap of cinema films and TV dramas as well as joint research and scientific cooperation in academic and archeological fields.
Cultural and artistic cooperation between the two countries has paved the way for Iranian and Korean people to get more familiar with the culture, history and civilization of the two countries and this in turn has strengthened the ties between the two nations.
Iranian and Korean people have always paid respect to each other and the cultural and historical values of the two countries.
In spite of the interest of Iran and Korea in keeping and expanding relations in all areas, some countries, under different pretexts, are trying to place obstacles in their way.
Imposition of illegal and unilateral sanctions on Iran by some Western countries and the pressure they put on other countries including Korea to join the sanctions has led to the vast dissatisfaction among the companies of the two countries. The sanctions are imposed on Iran under the pretext of Iran’s nuclear activities. Iran has repeatedly declared and emphasized that its nuclear program is peaceful and underlines that the International Atomic Energy Agency has always announced that there has been no sign to indicate Iran has diverted from peaceful nuclear activities.
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that within the framework of international law all countries should equally enjoy the rights to develop and to make scientific progress, and that big powers have no justification to prevent other nations from attaining these rights.
Iran believes in nuclear disarmament across the globe and has always repeated the motto: nuclear energy for everybody - nuclear arms for nobody. We believe imposition of the domestic laws of a country on other countries runs against the international law and leads to disruption of world trade.
We consider it a dangerous approach. In the light of the friendly atmosphere between the two countries, Iranian and Korean nations are expected to use past experience to fulfill their mutual interests. This will strengthen and deepen the friendly ties and as such a bright future will await them.
* The author is the Iranian ambassador to Seoul.
by Ahmad Masoumifar