DUSHANBE, January 18, Asia-Plus – IRNA – After official welcome Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted to him in Tehran on January 17, Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov speaking to reporters assessed bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Iran as "excellent," and praised their increasing economic, cultural and political relations in recent years.

Rahmonov noted that politicians and governments of Iran and Tajikistan always had the desire to promote relations, and hoped the two sides would use this opportunity to clinch more agreements. 

" Iran and Tajikistan are one spirit in two bodies," Iranian President Ahmadinejad remarked at a joint press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.  He noted that broad and deep grounds have been established for bilateral relations and there are no limits to expansion of relations.  He pointed to the good level of bilateral ties between the two countries.  Asked about the prospects of Tehran-Dushanbe ties, he expressed hope mutual ties would reach higher levels in all fields in view of their close cooperation.   

The two leaders, after holding a joint press conference, immediately began their first round of talks.

In the course of the talks Ahmadinejad pointed to the necessity of making use of bilateral potentials to consolidate cooperation.  He noted that the two governments were currently paving the ground for economic growth by constructing infrastructure that would strengthen commercial links and by reducing trade tariffs.  He urged the officials of both sides to facilitate mutual investment by the countries'' private sectors.

" Tajikistan can further increase its foreign trade by reducing transportation tariffs and through its access to the Persian Gulf ." The Iranian president called for a study of development projects and expense involved in Tajikistan , and said, "Iranian firms are willing to engage in development and trade activities in Tajikistan ." Rahmonov, for his part, said promotion of Tehran-Dushanbe ties would serve bilateral and regional interests.

Pointed to the two countries'' strategic location in Central Asia and the Middle East , he said what Iran and Tajikistan most need are peace, stability and security in the interest of development and progress.  He said the two sides could enhance their cooperation and take decisive moves in the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism in the region.

President Rahmonov stressed the importance of bolstering bilateral cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and called for tripartite cooperation among Iran , Afghanistan and Tajikistan towards better use of opportunities and elimination of dangers.

The Tajik president said that the construction of the Anzob and Shahriston tunnels and Sangtuda-2 power plants in Tajikistan by Iranian contractors were evidences of the countries'' fruitful bilateral cooperation.

The Tajik president invited Iranian state-owned and private sector companies to invest more in its oil and gas industries, water and electricity, agriculture and infrastructure projects.