Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi visits Indonesia to strengthen economic partnership

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi met Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday during a two-day visit aimed at strengthening economic ties between the Muslim-majority countries amid global geopolitical tensions.

Raisi is visiting at Widodo’s invitation as Indonesia aims to speed up its post-pandemic recovery by boosting its exports, Indonesia’s foreign ministry said.

The visit is expected to deepen Iran’s ties with Indonesia as Tehran seeks alternatives to US-led Western hegemony after the two countries concluded talks on an Indonesia-Iran preferential trade deal, Indonesia’s trade ministry said. .

Trade between Indonesia and Iran was $54.1 million between January and March, the ministry’s data showed, with bilateral trade value up 23% last year to $257.2 million.

Iran was Indonesia’s non-traditional trading partner, said Joni Martha, director of bilateral negotiations at Indonesia’s trade ministry. 'Through this PTA, we hope to expand our market reach and export opportunities in the Middle East and Persia,’ he said.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy is seeking new markets to diversify its export options and less reliance on traditional trading partners, many of which are plagued by a weak global economy and geopolitical risks.

In February, Raisi met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and sought further cooperation following their meeting in Uzbekistan last September, when Xi underlined China’s support for Iran.

Both countries have strained relations with the United States and, along with Russia, have sought to position themselves against American power.

Washington has accused Iran of selling hundreds of attack drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine and sanctioned executives of an Iranian drone manufacturer. At the same time, relations between Moscow and Beijing have grown stronger.

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Raisi, who is in Indonesia, plans to lay a wreath at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta to honor Indonesia’s war dead before meeting Widodo at the presidential palace in Bogor. They will witness the signing of PTA and other agreements.

Before leaving Jakarta on Wednesday, Raisi will also meet Indonesia’s House Speaker Buan Maharani, religious figures and businessmen. He will visit Jakarta’s Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, and deliver public lectures at the Islamic University.

Widodo’s last visit to Iran was in 2016, while Hassan Rouhani’s last official state visit to Iran was in 2015 when he attended the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Africa Summit in Bandung.

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