Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has congratulated Iran’s president-elect Ebrahim Raisi, according to the Tajik president’s official website.

In a message of congratulations sent to Ebrahuim Raisi on Sunday June 20, Emomali Rahmon, in particular, noted that “Tajikistan and Iran are linked by strong cultural, historical and civilizational values.”

“In this context, we always wish to strengthen and expand relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries based on the principles of mutual understanding, benevolence and sincere trust,” the message says

Rahmon wished good health and success for the Iranian president-elect and peace, stability, and prosperity for the entire Iranian nation.

Ebrahim Raisi secured more than 17.9 million votes to win Iran’s presidential elections.

Relations between Iran and Tajikistan were traditionally relatively close. Iran was the first state to recognize Tajikistan’s independence in September 1991 and the first to open an embassy a year later. Fearing a continuity of Soviet-era policies, Iran supported the Islamic and nationalist opposition during the civil war. Moreover, Iran was instrumental in the shuttle diplomacy and peace talks that ended the Tajik Civil War in 1997.

Relations between the two countries have come under strain after officials in Tehran invited Muhiddin Kabiri, who chairs the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) banned in Tajikistan, to an international Islamic conference in December 2015.  In 2014, Iran was Tajikistan’s third-largest trade partner with trade turnover amounting to about US$200 million, but due to a relationship crisis, the figures dropped to US$60-70 million in 2015.

In 2019, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani paid a visit to Tajikistan, signaling thaw of relations between the two countries.  “Welcome to your second homeland,” President Emomali Rahmon told Hassan Rouhani upon his arrival in Tajikistan for the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), on June 15, 2019

On March 29, this year Tajik President Emomali Rahmon met in Dushanbe with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the regional conference themed “Heart of Asia –Istanbul Process.” The Tajik president’s official website says the construction of the Istiqlol Tunnel was recognized as one of the positive examples of the bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Iran.  In connection with the aggravation of geopolitical and geostrategic competition, the growing threats and challenges to security and the situation in Afghanistan, it was found necessary to take joint measures to prevent terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.  The two sides also discussed other areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas such as economy, trade, energy, industry, transportation, science and culture.  On March 30, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks with his Tajik counterpart Sirojiddin Muhriddin.  The two discussed the ways to develop bilateral cooperation.