Iranian govt., parl. back ties expansion with Sri Lanka: Larijani

MNA – Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iranian Parliament, reassured the members of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce that Iranian government and parliament support the expansion of ties between the two countries.

“The Iranian parliament and government support the expansion of trade and industry ties with Sri Lanka,” said Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iranian Parliament on Thursday in Colombo.

The Iranian top lawmaker made the remarks while attending the meeting between the members of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Iranian economic activists in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo.

“Iran and Sri Lanka have always had friendly ties in all eras and even at the time that Sri Lanka was grappling with domestic issues Iran was beside this country offering help,” said the top parliamentarian referring to the historic background of relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sri Lanka especially in terms of trade and commerce.

“Political consultations on important international issues are still in place between the two governments and parliaments of Iran and Sri Lanka,” highlighted Mr. Larjani.

“In the past Iran imported a big deal of tea leaves from Sri Lanka and in exchange exported oil to Sri Lanka” he added elaborating on the point that the ties in the past were mainly commercial.

“After the nuclear agreement between Iran and 5+1, the commercial relations should have grown properly,” he voiced discontent with the rate of growth in ties in the post-sanctions era.

“There are two big projects in Sri Lanka underway by Iranian companies; one of them is extending power grid to rural areas and the second is the construction of a dam which has progressed 85% so far,” he added.

The chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, in this meeting, for his part, said that in the past trade between Iran and Sri Lanka was 90% tea leaves in exchange for oil but now Sri Lanka is importing machinery and fish products.