0905 GMT January 15, 2021
Bangladesh and Iran are working on easier connectivity between the two countries to diversify their bilateral trade.
This was announced by Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Tehran AFM Gousal Azam Sarker in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily.
He said cooperation in the field of facilitating connectivity between the two Islamic countries is being promoted both in bilateral and multilateral frameworks, such the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, where connectivity, transportation and tourism are important areas.
The ambassador also said the relations between Bangladesh and Iran cover all sectors and areas of cooperation.
“We are in cooperation bilaterally and internationally. Bilaterally, we are collaborating in the sectors of trade, investment, education, sports, culture, tourism and even media as well as in the areas of connectivity and communication. Internationally, we cooperate within regional and international frameworks.”
Expressing dissatisfaction with the current level of trade between the two countries, he said Bangladesh and Iran have great potentials.
The ambassador added that in the area of education, Tehran and Dhaka have some levels of cooperation.
“The Iranian government is generously providing our students with support and opportunities for education. Also, a small number of Iranian students are studying in Bangladesh.”
He said the two countries are also cooperating in the field of cinematography.
Commenting on the 45th National Mourning Day of Bangladesh (commemorated on August 15, 2020 by Bangladesh in different parts of the world), the ambassador said, “On this day, we lost our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
Commemorated annually on August 15, the National Mourning Day of Bangladesh marks the the brutal assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975.
The ambassador added Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led Bangladesh to independence and freedom in 1971 by uniting the nation.
“Under our Father of the Nation in the independent state of Bangladesh, we established bilateral relations with most of the countries and also with Iran.”
He said the historical background of ties and traditional bonds between Bangladesh and Iran and the peoples of the two countries goes back to centuries.
“The two countries and their peoples have been interacting and partnering with each other for centuries. We have common cultural roots. Persian language used to be our court language for centuries. Even until the late 19th century, Persian continued to be used for official purposes in Bangladesh and as a formal language of the country and administration.
We still have nearly 6,000 to 7,000 words in common which we use in our daily life. Islam was another important connection between the two peoples, which was propagated in our part of the world in the middle ages.”
He said in the 19th century, when modern Bengali literature was developed, many poets in Bangladesh wrote under the influence of the Iranian culture and literature.
Over the past years relations between the two countries were expanded, the ambassador added, noting that Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has visited Iran two times and attended international summits here.
Likewise, in 1995, the-then Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani visited Bangladesh, he said.
“There have been many important ministerial- and political-level visits that have helped bring us closer. We also work in close cooperation in the international arena. Both countries continue to support each other in [international] forums and on international issues. We hold similar views on different world problems and issues.”
In addition, he said, Bangladesh and Iran have signed many important bilateral agreements and MoUs with each other.
“We also have important mechanisms of dialogue and discussion. We hold joint economic commission meetings to discuss cooperation and have bilateral political dialogues and discussions. We have a mechanism of foreign office consultations as well as agreements in the areas of culture and education.”
The two countries are keen on expanding and deepening their relations and enhancing their cooperation, he noted.
The ambassador described Iran as a brotherly country, saying, “We are working with our friends in Iran and the country’s government in different sectors and areas. Our private sectors and NGOs are also cooperating with each other and open to continuing their collaborations.”
The two countries seek to expand their relations in the field of investment as well, he stressed.
Azam Sarker added after being appointed as Bangladesh’s ambassador to Iran, he has been working to have close cooperation with related Iranian authorities in the fields of facilitating connectivity and increasing people-to-people contacts.
“We are planning to send a delegation comprising tour operators from Bangladesh to Tehran after the coronavirus situation improves for discussions with their Iranian counterparts and developing tour packages for tourists from both countries.”
Commenting on the translation of an autobiography titled ‘The Unfinished Memories’ by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman into Persian, he said in fact, translating this book into Persian was long overdue.
“Persian is an important international language and Persian speakers and readers know very little about the contribution of our Father of the Nation to our country and nation and also the world.”
Thus, he added, to help Iranian and Persian speakers gain more knowledge about this great leader it is important to publish the Persian translation of this book.
“He was a great leader who gave us freedom and independence. He developed our nation and took it forward. He dreamt of a golden Bangladesh, a developed and a prosperous one.”
The ambassador regretted that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did not have time to finish implementing his ideas and policies and fulfilling his dreams, saying, however, his daughter, Sheikh Hasina, who is running the government, is making relentless efforts to develop the country and realize the unimplemented dream of the Father of the Nation.