Iran and Tajikistan trade turnover last year exceeded $500 million – much of it “unrecorded” – said Tehran’s long-serving ambassador to Dushanbe, Ali Asghar Sheardoost.
Talking to EurasiaNet, Sheardoost said, Tajikistan is far from Iran and there is no pipeline between the two, so oil and gas must be brought here by truck, making it more expensive. “However, during the recent trip of Iranian president to Tjikistan, a memorandum was signed by the presidents of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan agreeing to build a road from Iran to Afghanistan and Tajikistan and from here to China”, he added.
“If this road is built, it will be possible to have a pipeline transporting oil and gas from Iran and transporting water from Tajikistan to Iran, Afghanistan and some countries in the Persian Gulf. We also discussed building a petroleum refinery which is in need here in Tajikistan, and for which Iran has the technology”, he further said.
Indicating to U.S. tries to isolate Iran; Sheardoost noted that “any plan or idea for Central Asia is not practical without Iran’s participation. If they want to ignore Iran, those plans will remain only on paper and will never be realized. Iran is one of the major and most important countries on the historic Silk Road. It is impossible to ignore or to go around Iran. This is recorded throughout history.”
“The economic sanctions that America intensifies day-by-day are not hugely affecting our work with Tajikistan. Surely I don’t mean they do not have any effect. Naturally, banking sanctions make it a little harder to transfer money”, the envoy added.
Giving an example, Sheardoost stated, “the Anzob Tunnel, which is important to connect the north and south of Tajikistan and is being built by Iranian companies, needed some money to be completed and this money was to be granted partly by Iran. Because of those sanctions, the amount didn’t arrive on time. This caused the tunnel not to be completed by this winter, which is an injustice for the Tajiks. The amount of money was prepared; workers and engineers were available. These are the problems caused by sanctions. However, it is a mistake to think these sanctions will make Iran surrender. Iranian people have shown throughout history that the more pressure you put on them, the harder, more seriously and with more energy they try to solve their problems. The language of sanctions in the current century is not a civilized language”.