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Rouhani: Iran Ready to Help Myanmar to Improve Muslims' Conditions

July 23, 2014

TEHRAN - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani voiced Tehran's preparedness to help Myanmar take the necessary measures to improve the conditions of the Muslims living in that country.

"We hope that the minorities living in Myanmar, specially the Muslims, continue their life in there without facing any problem," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Myanmar's Accredited Ambassador to Tehran Yuang Xin Su on Tuesday.

The Iranian president expressed the hope that Iran and Myanmar would further expand bilateral ties during the mission of the new Myanmarese ambassador in Iran, and said, "Relations with the world countries, specially the Asian countries, is important to Iran."

He also expressed hope that ethnic and religious minorities, Muslims in particular, could live freely in Myanmar.

President Rouhani also voiced Iran's readiness to bolster economic, political, scientific and cultural ties with Myanmar.

He also added Iran is ready to cooperate with Myanmar in technical and vocational areas.

The Myanmarese ambassador, for his part, said the two countries have always enjoyed friendly relations.

In similar remarks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also announced Tehran's readiness to help Myanmar settle the problems of the Muslim community living in the Southeast Asian country.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's government is concerned about the situation of the Muslims in Myanmar and is ready to cooperate with the Myanmarese government to settle the problems of the Muslims," Zarif said in a meeting with Myanmar's new accredited ambassador to Tehran on Monday.

He also underlined the necessity for increasing cooperation with Myanmar in different economic, cultural and social fields.

The Myanmarese envoy, for his part, stressed that his government welcomes investment of Iranian companies in his country, and called for the expansion of economic and trade ties with Tehran.

Violence by extremist Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims has killed hundreds of them and forced many more to flee the country.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country's independence in 1948. The UN recognizes the Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as one of the world’s most persecuted communities.

The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims. International bodies and human rights organizations accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the violence.

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