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Belarus foreign minister starts four-day visit to Iran

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International
India
MINSK, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Belarusian foreign minister will make a four-day visit to Iran, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Iran has been at the center of an international dispute over the past year regarding its nuclear ambitions. Some countries suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program, but Tehran has consistently denied the claims, saying it needs nuclear energy for civilian purposes.

The ministry said Sergei Martynov will hold consultations with the Iranian leadership on the entire range of Belarusian-Iranian relations.

He is due to meet with the Iranian president, foreign and trade ministers, and other officials.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in early September Iran was a significant source of support for his country outside of the former Soviet republics.

Lukashenko's domestic policies have also come under severe criticism from the West, with Washington dubbing him "Europe's last dictator," and both the U.S. and the EU banning him from entering their territories.

"We consider Iran as a serious point of support abroad, and we want to actively develop relations with it," Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said earlier Iran is studying ways to implement a number of major investment projects in Belarus. In particular, one of Iran's largest construction companies is interested in building hotels and residential buildings, as well as to form a transportation terminal in Belarus.

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