Politics, World, Middle East

Iran, Malaysia agree on expediting prisoner swap, boosting economic ties

Malaysia’s foreign minister is in Iran on 4-day visit, accompanied by political, business delegations

Syed Zafar Mahdi  | 21.08.2023 - Update : 22.08.2023
Iran, Malaysia agree on expediting prisoner swap, boosting economic ties Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir (L) hold joint press conference after their meeting in Tehran, Iran on August 21, 2023.- Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry/Handout


Iran’s foreign minister on Monday announced the acceleration of a prisoner exchange with Malaysia with the cooperation of judicial authorities of the two countries. 

Addressing a joint news conference with his Malaysian counterpart Zambry Abdul Kadir in Tehran following delegation-level talks, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the two sides have agreed on the extradition of criminals as well as the exchange of prisoners, starting with female prisoners.

In the initial step, he said female prisoners in the two countries would be exchanged in the “near future.”

Kadir, accompanied by a high-ranking political and business delegation, arrived in Tehran on Sunday on the first official four-day visit since assuming the office in December 2022.

He is also expected to meet President Ebrahim Raisi and other senior Iranian officials during the visit, with a focus on boosting economic ties.

Amir-Abdollahian, at a joint news conference with Kadir, dubbed the talks between the two sides on bilateral, regional and international issues “important and fruitful.”

He said Malaysia holds an important position in the Islamic world and reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to develop ties with the Muslim-majority South Asian country.  

Iran, Malaysia economic commission meeting to be held in Tehran

Iran’s foreign minister also said that the joint economic commission meeting between Iran and Malaysia will be held in Tehran, which will be chaired by Iran’s minister for communications.

The two sides also agreed on preparing documents on the expansion of bilateral ties that will be signed during the meeting of the heads of the two states.

Regional issues, including the war in Ukraine, the situation in Afghanistan, as well as Syria and Palestine also figured in their discussions. The recurring incidents of Quran burnings in Europe were also discussed.

Amir-Abdollahian, for his part, said Sweden and Denmark should be “seriously concerned” about the growth of far-right extremism, violence, and terrorism, which manifests itself through the desecration of Islam’s holy book.

Meanwhile, the top Iranian diplomat said the Iranian president has extended an invitation to the Malaysian prime minister to visit Tehran and Malaysia has also sent an invitation to the Iranian president.

Earlier, in a statement, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said the visit “reflects Malaysia’s commitment” towards enhancing bilateral relations with all countries, including Iran.

Kadir and his Iranian counterpart, the statement added, will discuss regional and international issues concerning the two nations and “find ways to explore new areas of cooperation.”

Iran is the eight-largest trading partner of Malaysia and the 11th-largest exporter among West Asian countries. The total trade between the two countries last year saw an increase of more than 40%, according to Iran’s state media.

The two foreign ministers previously met in Baku in July on the sidelines of the meeting of the top diplomats of the Non-Aligned Movement’s member states.

During the meeting, Iran’s foreign minister said the two countries have many commonalities and underlined the need to boost economic and trade cooperation between Tehran and Kuala Lumpur.

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