Last month, President Rouhani had an official visit from 3 main countries in South East of Asia. At the first step of his trip, he travelled to Vietnam and meet Tran Dai Quang, President of Socialist Republic of Vietnam, after 21 years which these two countries hadn’t have any presidential meeting. In this trip, both countries agreed on co-operation in the fields of economy, culture, tourism, agriculture, transportation and some other sectors. They also arranged to increase the trade volume between Tehran and Hanoi up to 2 billion USD which is more than 5 time greater than before. After that President Rouhani visited Malaysia. The relationship between 2 countries was not going well in recent years because of multiple reasons and this visit was a reform. After Malaysia, Rouhani went to Thailand to participate in Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) conference in which 33 Asian countries took part and known as one of the most important events in Asian countries collaboration.
These visits were vital in making a new relationship with countries of South East of Asia after JCPOA. The trade volume between Iran and these countries decreased drastically after enforcing United States strong sanctions against Iran. However, before the sanctions, Iran developed its trade volume with these countries in order to reduce dependency to the west. For example, Petronas, which is a Malaysian company in the field of oil refining, played a significant role in Iran’s oil reserves exploitation and had share of 30 percent in oil refining of Iran’s reserves in Siri. Other examples are Amona Group and T.M in telecommunications, Amano in energy, Proton in automotive industry and etc. But United States forced these countries to stop trading with Iran. Transaction with these countries decreased around 3 times after this enforcement, as the US Government fined some of this region’s big companies because of dealing with Iran. Now after a year of implementation of JCPOA, Iran look forward to rebuild the missing relationship with countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and etc.
Last year, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a visit from these countries, but a visit in presidential level shows great intention in reforming the relationships. This can help Iran to attract more investments from these countries in different fields specially in infrastructure such as energy, IT and Banking systems.
To conclude, Iran’s foreign policy requires to strengthen the relationships with far east countries in order to decrease the dependency to western countries like United States. These can lead to growth of Iranian economy because there are lots of companies in this region who had significant dealings with Iran and now after the implementation of JCPOA, they look forward to reconcile their partnerships with Iranian companies. This can result in huge flow of investments in Iran economy and help the country to extend relationship with Asian countries, because as the President Rouhani Said, 21st Century is the Century of Asia.