Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday warned against Western efforts to extend influence in the West Asia region in order to harm nations’ sovereignty.
"We need to look at issues carefully and maintain vigilance, as Americans and Westerners always try to expand their sphere of influence in different regions, including East and West Asia, and undermine the independence and sovereignty of nations," Ayatollah Khamenei told visiting Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at a meeting in Tehran which was also attended by President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.
The Leader also pointed to the conflict in Ukraine, blaming Russia’s military operation there on the NATO’s eastward expansion.
“Regarding Ukraine, the main problem is that the West is trying to expand NATO,” he said, adding that Western nations “do not hesitate to extend their influence wherever they can”.
Tokayev hoped that a set of agreements signed earlier in the day would pave the way for further boosting ties.
Nine MoUs signed
Earlier in the day, Iran and Kazakhstan signed nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to bolster cooperation in transit, energy, agricultural, political, trade, economic and scientific and cultural sectors at a ceremony attended by Raeisi and Tokayev.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Raeisi said the two countries are determined to foster relations and have the capacity to enhance their cooperation in regional organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Raeisi further criticized the presence of foreigners in West Asia, saying they do not bring security to the region.
He noted that regional countries are fully capable of solving their own problems.
During the press conference, Raeisi stressed that Iran and Kazakhstan have similar views on global and regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and the need to form an inclusive government there.
“We agree that the presence of foreigners in the region will not create security, but rather, it will cause many problems. We also believe that regional officials are capable of solving regional problems and that the region’s [Gordian] knots can be untied by the region itself,” he said.