HAVANA: Iran wants to forge a “new path” in its relations with Cuba by tightening ties, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday at the start of a Latin American tour.
“It’s a very opportune moment to extend our relations,” he told journalists at the start of a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
“We have always been on the side of the great Cuban people in the face of the atrocities and unjust sanctions they have faced, and vice versa,” he said, in an apparent reference to Cuba’s long history of enmity with the United States.
Cuba re-established diplomatic ties with the United States last year, but their historic rapprochement has not yet brought an end to the US embargo imposed on the communist island since 1962.
Zarif praised Cuba’s “resistance” to the United States, with which Iran has not had formal diplomatic relations since 1980.
“We are going to forge a new path in our bilateral relations with Cuba,” he said, mentioning the energy, industrial and technology sectors as possible areas for cooperation.
Rodriguez for his part reiterated Cuba’s support for Iran in its dispute with the United States and other world powers over its nuclear program.
Iran sealed a deal last year with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US to limit the program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.
But although the deal took effect in January, Iran says it is still largely cut off from the international financial system.
“We continue to oppose all sanctions and unilateral coercive measures, especially in the financial domain,” said Rodriguez.
Zarif, who is traveling with a large delegation of officials and business executives, will also visit Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela on his trip, according to Cuban state media.