BY RAISA PAGESóGranma International staff writer
• Plant under construction in that Asian country to manufacture a Hepatitis B vaccine, Interferon, Streptokinase and human Erythpoyetine with Cuban technology
• Cooperation with Cuba to be diversified and extended starting this year, as the Iranian ambassador in Cuba informs this weekly
WHILE a plant is under construction in Iran to produce vaccines and medicines with Cuban technology, the island is very interested in that Asian country’s experiences in the rational use of water, among other contributions via the established cooperation between the two nations.
“There is no doubt that Iran is determined to strengthen its economic relations with Cuba and there are many interesting areas in which to cooperate,” affirmed Mr. Ahmad Edrisan, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran .
He confirmed that economic cooperation between the two nations is to be diversified and extended to a notable degree starting this year. The Iranian ambassador conceded an interview to Granma International on the 10th Cuba-Iran Joint Commission.
“In discussions between the delegations we have made concrete the most propitious areas for economic cooperation and strengthened banking relations,” he noted.
“The Central Bank of Cuba already has agreements with the Iran Development Bank, which will facilitate trade between the two countries.
Iran is to give Cuban a credit of 20 million euros, which could be increased with projects and cooperation.
The ambassador stated that his country has announced its disposition to help Cuba in oil pumping developments now that new reserves of this resource have been found.
Although economic cooperation currently covers agriculture, water usage, medicines, biotechnology and sports, this exchange is to be much expanded..
Mr. Ahmad Edrisan reviewed bilateral relations, which he qualified as excellent, and recalled President Fidel Castro’s visit to Iran in 2001.
There were many delegation exchanges between the two nations in 2004, which provided a better knowledge of realities on both sides.
“We consider that the 10th Cuba-Iran Joint Commission is complementary to that process of exchanging delegations to date and now we would like those areas of cooperation to be made concrete,” he added.
The Iranian agricultural minister is heading the 25-person delegation from different agencies and ministries in that country currently in Cuba for the joint commission.
The volume of trade between Cuba and Iran in recent years has oscillated between $20 and $30 million but there is much capacity between the two nations to raise that,” he observed.
Given its scientific developments in biotechnology, Cuba is supplying Iran with vaccines against Hepatitis B and other successful medicines like Interferon and Erythropoyetine, at a cost of $15 million per year.
A plant is currently under construction in that country for the manufacture there with Cuban technology of the Hepatitis B vaccine, Interferon, Streptokinase (utilized in the treatment of heart attacks) and human recombinant Erithropoyetine, used for the treatment of kidney failure, among other pathologies.
Exchanges of professors and students of medicine are part of an existing cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Higher Education, which also includes grants for students on both sides.
Last year a new agreement was signed in the field of sports to give continuity to cooperation in this activity, the ambassador commented. Trainers and athletes in volleyball, basketball and boxing from both nations are assimilating their experiences.
The recent visit by Jose Ramon Fernández to Iran will help to implement this sports agreement, the ambassador affirmed. The Asian nation is also to produce sports equipment that the island can acquire.
Both countries are exchanging information in the area of agriculture. Iran has benefited from Cuban experiences in sugarcane cultivation and in its turn is facilitating information on the production of rice and other foodstuffs.
Geographically located in a very dry area, Iran has an annual rainfall of only 250 millimeters. However, it is a large agricultural producer and food exporter. Iran is interested in the island’s experience of tropical fruits.
To be continued…