ECONOMYNEXT – Iran’s ambassador to Sri Lanka Alireza Delkhosh has said that Iran hopes to share technology and science knowledge with Sri Lanka.
“Iran has achieved great progress in terms of technology and science and hopes to share that technology and science knowledge with Sri Lanka,” Delkosh said at the ceremony held in Colombo to mark the 45th National Independence Day of Iran.
“Iran’s foreign policy focuses on two main areas: economic cooperation between States, and strengthening regional security,” Delkosh was quoted as saying at the event, according to a statement by the Department of Government Information.
Chief guest at the ceremony, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi thanked Iran for its support in the ‘Uma oya multipurpose development project’, and the financial and technical support provided by the Iranian government.
Analysts say the diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Iran have been intact despite a sanction by the United States deprived Sri Lanka of receiving cheap Iranian light crude since 2012.
Amidst a foreign exchange crisis, Sri Lanka inked a deal in 2021 to set off export of tea to Iran against a legacy oil credit owed by state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to the National Iranian Oil Company, without busting US sanctions.
However, the ‘oil for tea’ deal did not materialize until recent months due to practical difficulties. Sri Lanka owes 4,251 million for crude imported before the US imposed sanctions on Iran.
According to the Export Development Board, the total export value from Sri Lanka to Iran was 43.17 million dollars in 2023, and total imports from Iran to Sri Lanka for the same period were 6.7 million dollars.
Sri Lanka’s main export products to Iran in 2023 were tea in bulk, coco peat, fiber pith and moulded products, desiccated coconut, tea packets, other transport equipment, pneumatic and retreated rubber tyres and tubes, defatted coconut, labels printed or not, tea bags.
Iranian leader Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi has accepted an invitation by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe to visit the island. (Colombo/Feb12/2024)