Cuban President Raul Castro hosts his Iranian counterpart in Havana, with both sides looking to build stronger economic ties. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo
HAVANA, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The Iranian and Cuban economies have a long and successful track record of withstanding economic pressure from adversaries, Iran's president said from Havana.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, in Havana before traveling to New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting. The Iranian president said both economies have shown resilience against strong economic pressure.
"The goal of some powerful countries to resort to pressure and sanctions against independent states is to maintain their monopoly over cutting-edge and important technologies," the Iranian president was quoted by Iranian broadcaster Press TV as saying
Rouhani said both sides could work closer and called on a joint Iran-Cuba economic commission to move quickly on building deeper economic ties.
"Cuba has always been a close friend of Iran in international organizations, and this friendship and unity between the two countries, which serve the interests of both nations, should continue on international and regional matters," he said.
Sanctions pressures on Iran started easing in January after the United Nations confirmed compliance with a multilateral nuclear agreement brokered last year. The U.S. government in 2014 started easing a 54-year trade embargo on Cuba and later reopened its embassy in Havana, restoring formal diplomatic ties. The same year, the Cuban government enacted legislation offering corporate tax credits to encourage foreign investments.
Both sides could see economic gains from oil, with Iran reaching out to potential energy trading partners as sanctions pressures ease. MEO Australia, one of the few foreign companies operating in Cuba, estimates its onshore exploration target in the country holds around 8 billion barrels of oil in place and has the potential to produce nearly 400 million barrels.
Castro, meanwhile, said bilateral relations with Iran should be promoted, adding no power could stand in the way of strengthening the ties.