His Excellency Jose Ramon Rodriguez, Cuba’s Ambassador in Tehran talked to IRAN NEWS in an exclusive interview. He said: “Bilateral Iran-Cuba ties are quite transparent and progressing forward.
These ties are in different cultural, economic and political domains. Trade between the two countries is only $30-40 million annually, primarily due to the fact that the two countries are so far from one another geographically. There are also good cultural relations such as a student exchange program.”
Ambassador Rodriguez added: “Since Cuba is under U.S. sanctions, it is looking to Iran for supplying some of its needs such as biotechnological products, rat poison, etc. Havana and Tehran can also do business on sugar. In fact, an expert delegation on sugar is supposed to soon travels to Iran from Cuba.” Cuba is a major sugar producer globally.
Elsewhere, he stated: “Ties between the two countries is indeed extraordinary. There is willingness on both sides to expand and develop relations even further. On tourism, Cuba hosts more than two million tourists per year and we would be glad to work with Iran in this respect. We have already made several proposals to the Iranian side regarding tourism cooperation. Reciprocally, since Cuba experienced a terrible drought recently, Iran has offered to collaborate with Cuba on electricity generation.”
H.E. Rodriguez went on to mention: “On allegations that bilateral Tehran-Havana cooperation on biotechnology can be diverted to weapons production, it should be emphasized that Cuba does not possess a biological weapons program and our collaboration with Iran on biotechnology is limited to medical transfer of technology as well as on Hepatitis B, various heart medications, etc. Collaboration on these matters was discussed in the latest Iran-Cuba Joint Economic Commission summit. Again I reiterate that there is no hidden military cooperation between the two nations.”
Havana’s chief diplomatic envoy in Tehran responded to a question on the possibility of a U.S. military attack on Iran by saying: “It my view, the Americans would be smart not to do such a thing. When they attacked Iraq, they knew that Baghdad was weak and could not effectively fight back. It is a whole different story on Iran.”
Last but not least, on Iran’s WTO membership bid, H.E. Rodriguez stated: “The United States is obstructing on this issue. Washington has turned Iran’s WTO membership application into a political matter by insisting it is dependent on progress on the nuclear issue.”