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Iran Visit Prompts Warmer Diplomatic Ties

Cambodia is considering increasing formal diplomatic relations with Iran, including establishing an embassy in the capital Tehran, officials said Friday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently considering the “proper time” for a visit to Iran by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, a ministry spokesman said.

The decision follows the visit of an Iranian delegation of five National Assembly members this week that ended Thursday. The delegation met with high-ranking members of the National Assembly and Senate and with Foreign Affairs officials.

The delegation requested the establishment of an embassy or trade center to promote Iranian investment for oil, gas and mining, said Cheam Yiep, a Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker that met with the delegation.

Kuy Kuong, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said a potential visit by Hor Namhong to Iran would be to discuss “the economy, trade, investment and tourism.” Cambodia was also considering an embassy, he said.

Cambodia restarted diplomatic relations with Iran in 1992, “but we do not have an embassy yet,” he said. “We contact Iran through the Iranian Embassy in Hanoi.”

The Iranian delegation leader, Mohsen Kouhkan, told lawmakers here Iran could offer technical assistance for oil, gas and mining, Kuy Kuong said.

“If we have strong relations with Iran, we will receive strong experience in producing oil and drilling for gas and in mining,” he said.

International censure of Iran for its nuclear policies was not a concern of Cambodia, which is focused on economy, trade, investment and tourism, he said.