Iran's leader is in Indonesia to strengthen economic ties in the face of geopolitical challenges worldwide
Iran's leader is in Indonesia to strengthen economic ties in the face of geopolitical challenges worldwide

Bogor: In the midst of heightened geopolitical tensions around the world, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will meet his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo on Tuesday during a two-day visit aimed at fostering economic ties between the Muslim-majority countries.

According to Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry, Raisi is in the country at Widodo's request because Indonesia wants to increase exports to hasten its post-pandemic recovery.

The visit is anticipated to strengthen ties between Iran and Indonesia as Tehran looks for alternatives to the US-led Western hegemony in world affairs and seeks increased cooperation after the two countries wrapped up talks on the Indonesia-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement this month, according to Indonesia's Trade Ministry.

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According to data from the ministry, trade between Indonesia and Iran totaled $54.1 million between January and March, while the value of bilateral trade rose by more than 23% to $257.2 million last year.

According to Johni Martha, the director of bilateral negotiations at Indonesia's Trade Ministry, Iran was a non-traditional trading partner for Indonesia. With the help of this PTA, he continued, "we hope to increase our export opportunities to the Middle East and Persia."

The largest economy in Southeast Asia is looking for new markets in order to expand its export options and lessen its reliance on established trading partners, many of whom have been harmed by the weakening global economy and geopolitical risks.

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Following their meeting in Uzbekistan in September, where Xi emphasised China's support for Iran, Raisi met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in February to seek out new opportunities for collaboration.

Both nations have had tense relations with the United States and have attempted to position themselves alongside Russia as a counterbalance to American power.

Washington has sanctioned executives of an Iranian drone manufacturer and accused Iran of selling hundreds of attack drones to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine. At the same time, relations between Beijing and Moscow have improved.

Before meeting Widodo in the presidential palace in Bogor, Raisi is scheduled to lay a wreath at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta in memory of Indonesia's war dead. They will be present when the PTA and other documents are signed.

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Raisi will meet with businesspeople, religious leaders, and Indonesia's House Speaker Puan Maharani before departing Jakarta on Wednesday. He'll give open lectures at an Islamic university and visit Jakarta's Istiqlal Grand Mosque, which is the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia.

While Hassan Rouhani's official state visit to Indonesia in 2015 coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung, Widodo's last trip to Iran took place in 2016.


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