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Tajik President, Iran Trade Minister Hold Talks

DUSHANBE, 14 July 2005 (NCA) -- Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Iran's top trade official met today in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, and agreed to increase bilateral ties, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

After the talks, Iranian Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari said the two sides discussed Iran's financing of a tunnel linking Dushanbe with northern Tajikistan -- due to be completed before the summer of 2006.

Shariatmadari also said they discussed details concerning Iran's financing of the Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric-power station in southern Tajikistan.

"We talked about areas of cooperation in detail, but I think the most important cooperation will be in the mining area, in the area of roads and tunnels, in activities concerning power plants, especially smaller ones, with the use of the financial resources of international finance organizations," Shariatmadari said.

Iran is investing some $180 million in the station, which is expected to cost about $220 million.

Shariatmadari said that he and Rakhmonov also discussed cooperation issues within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Iran recently joined the SCO as an observer, as did Pakistan and India.