Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says democracy is one of the factors bringing the Islamic Republic and Switzerland close to each another. Rouhani made the remarks during a joint press conference with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann in Tehran on Saturday as the two countries sought to forge new cooperation.
Among "the principles that have caused the countries to gravitate toward each other are independence, national sovereignty, democracy, and the issue of elections, which are considered to be their founding blocks," he said.
The Swiss president is in Tehran at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation to hold talks with senior Iranian officials and sign agreements in different fields.
"As regards the bilateral and regional issues, we had no disagreements, and our ideas were similar. The two countries are intent on developing [their bilateral] relations and I am certain that this visit will work as a starting point for the development of the ties," Rouhani noted.
Schneider-Ammann said that during a preceding meeting he had had with President Rouhani the two had decided on a roadmap that would feature cooperation in different fields.
"Accordingly, we should proceed step by step and implement joint agreements and projects," he said.
"The interest of the Swiss economic sector in developing ties with Iran is obvious. We have brought along 40 teams with us and ask you to bring along ten times the size, namely 400 teams, to Switzerland," he added.
Rouhani said the two sides would sign six memorandums of understanding in the scientific and technical fields and have chosen to step up their cooperation in the area of tourism.
They discussed the establishment of links between Swiss banks and the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks, cooperation in the area of insurance, the establishment of air links, and cooperation toward Iran's full membership in the World Trade Organization, where the Islamic Republic is currently an observer member.
Iran and Switzerland's economic relations featured constant improvement up until 2008, when the latter started to abide by the United Nations and European Union's nuclear-related sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
During his Saturday remarks, Schneider-Ammann also congratulated Rouhani and all those sharing the responsibility for the conclusion of the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, which put an end to the sanctions.
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