President plans a visit to Iran from May 1 to 3

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President plans a visit to Iran from May 1 to 3

President Park Geun-hye will visit Iran in May for a summit with President Hassan Rouhani, the Blue House said Monday.

According to the Blue House, Park will pay a state visit to Iran from May 1 to 3 at the invitation of the Iranian government. She will have the summit with Rouhani and discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues.

“It will be the first presidential visit to Iran since Korea and Iran established diplomatic relations in 1962,” the Blue House said. “We expect the trip to serve as an important opportunity for us to develop bilateral cooperation since the international community’s sanctions on Iran were lifted in January.”

Seoul and Tehran established diplomatic ties in 1962, and the two countries have maintained a relatively strong strategic partnership. Earlier this year, the government lifted a series of economic and financial regulations imposed on Iran over its nuclear weapons program in 2010, as international sanctions were lifted on the country.

Park will have in-depth discussions on a wide range of issues relevant to realistic cooperation with Iran, the Blue House said, indicating a push to regain businesses that were shut down five years ago due to the sanctions. Cooperation in infrastructure, plant construction, health, maritime and fishing industries and cultural, education and development projects will be discussed, the Blue House said.

In addition to the summit, a meeting with Koreans living in Iran, a Korea-Iran business forum and multiple cultural events will also take place during her visit in order to expand relations between the two countries.

Korea is one of Iran’s top trading partners. The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries reached $6.1 billion last year. Iran exported almost $2.36 billion worth of goods to Korea, mostly crude oil. Korea exported $3.75 billion worth of goods to Iran, mostly electronic devices, home appliances and paper products.

About 350 Koreans are living in Iran.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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