The Islamic Republic has always supported the stability and independence of Latin American countries, says Iran’s foreign minister.
“Iran is proud of its cooperation with friendly countries in Latin America, and will continue its cooperation and companionship with them,” said Mohammad Javad Zarif during the opening ceremony of an Iran-Ecuador trade forum attended by Ecuadorian Foreign Minster Guillaume Long in Ecuador's capital Quito on Wednesday.
Zarif stressed that the common grounds for further cooperation between the two sides would be based on mutual respect for the two nations' independence, and non-interference in the internal affairs of the two countries.
He also noted that Tehran would never forget its friends that stood by its side during the time of sanctions against Iran over its peaceful use of nuclear technology.
On January 16, Iran and the P5+1 group of countries -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany -- started implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which they reached on July 14, 2015. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program and provide enhanced access to international atomic monitors in return for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.   
“Equator has always defended our rights, and we have supported the stability, independence and honor of Latin American countries,” said Zarif.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) speaks to the press as his Ecuadorean counterpart Guillaume Long looks on, in Quito, on August 24, 2016. (AFP)

Zarif also met with Ecuador's President Rafael Correa and discussed ways to strengthen oil prices.
"We have held conversations on strengthening our position in oil markets," said Zarif after the meeting, adding that the two countries also agreed to continue talks within the framework of OPEC.
Zarif has travelled to the region at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation comprising 120 businessmen and financial executives from government and private sectors. The tour started off in Cuba on Monday, when he met with Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez and the country’s President Raul Castro.
Earlier, Zarif met with Nicaraguan Foreign Minster Samuel Santos López. He has now left Ecuador for Chile. 

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