Kuala Lumpur, July 22, IRNA – Head of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council Ali-Akbar Velayati says influential figures in Malaysia are eager to promote bilateral relations and regional cooperation with Iran.
Speaking to IRNA on Thursday after returning from a five-day visit to Singapore and Malaysia, Velayati said despite the ups and downs in bilateral relations, Iran and Malaysia are determined to further enhance relations.
Referring to Malaysia as a reliable partner for Iran, he said that Malaysia has always played a significant role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and will continue to do so.
Any country that aims to have relations with ASEAN, has to pay attention to Malaysia’s strategic and coordinating role in the Association, Velayati said.
Also referring to Iran as the gate to Western Asia, he underlined the importance of expansion of relations between Iran and Malaysia.
The former Iranian foreign minister said that the visit to Malaysia and participating in a conference on cooperation of Southern Asian countries was a key step for cooperation with South Asian countries.
He said that South Asian countries is a new term that includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, as well as ASEAN member states (Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).
The South Asia plan indicates that Southeast Asia and Southern Asia are moving towards a coalition which is a positive event, Velayati said.
Velayati, who is also a senior adviser to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic in foreign affairs, met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in his visit to Malaysia.