Pointing out that Iran-Tajikistan trade volume is about US $200mn currently, visiting Iranian FM added here Wednesday night both countries’ concerned officials should resort to potentials and try to increase that level. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali-Akbar Salehi made the comment upon arrival at Dushanbe International Airport in a short meeting with the press representatives present at the ceremonial pavilion of the airport. The Iranian top diplomat referring to the existence of “special relations” between Iran and Tajikistan added, “Tajikistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are the only three countries in the world in which the Persian language is spoken, and this all in itself is an effective factor in establishment of broad and deep-rooted trilateral relations among our three countries.” He further stressed that the Persian language is an effective commonalty at the service of tight and deep relations between Iran and Tajikistan, adding, “Our historical and religious roots, too, are among the shared factors between Iran and Tajikistan which show we have been fed from the same cultural dishes.” The Iranian foreign minister said, “This visit is in line with the other numerous visits of the two counties’ officials of each others’ capital cities. During the course of the current (Iranian) year (began on March 21st, 2011), for instance, I have had four meetings with my Tajik counterpart in Tehran, Dushanbe, or in other countries where we were both attending an international event.” Focusing on the objectives of his visit of Tajikistan Salehi added, “In this visit in addition to consultations on regional developments, we would talk with the Tajik officials on the status of economic cooperation and the various projects that Iran is implementing in this country.” He pointed out that the two countries have thus far held eight joint economic commissions, while the 9th one would be held in Tehran this coming spring. Salehi said that focusing on the axes of the Ninth Joint Economic Commission of the two countries is among the other objectives of his ongoing visit, expressing hope that the economic meetings would lead to increasing the two friendly and brother countries’ annual trade volume to an unprecedented level. Congratulating the auspicious occasion of the Norouz New Year to the great Tajik government and nation, he said, “The internationally acknowledged Norouz New Year celebrations of the year 1391 would be held in the presence of some countries’ presidents in Tajikistan this year, and Iran hopes to be able to participate at the event at the highest possible level.” Pointing out that he is carrying an oral message of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Tajik President Emomali Rahmanov, Salehi reiterated, “Relations between the two presidents are exclusive, while President Ahmadinejad especially respects and considers an extraordinary position for Mr. Rahmanov, and therefore, I hope keeping in mind the will of the two presidents for expansion and deepening the comprehensive bilateral relations, we too, as the foreign ministers of Iran and Tajikistan, can by facilitating such ties have a share in expansion of relations.” Salehi expressed hope that the required cradle for greater level of interactions between the two nations would be provided, because, according to him, broader relations between the two nations would lead to greater economic, cultural and scientific cooperation between the two nations. The foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran pointed out that the international and regional developments, particularly the numerous events of the year 2011, are among the issues to be discussed with the Tajik brethren, adding, “The world would probably be witness to the occurrence of eye catching developments in the year 2012, too, as it was in the year 2011, and relying on consultations with countries whose leaders have the same mindset, and take maximum advantage of such talks, thus immunizing ourselves against the negative effects of these developments.” Tajiks and Iranians have been connected historically and culturally for thousands of years. Tajiks, like the majority of Iranians, are an Iranian people and speak the Persian language, which is also the official language of Iran. Tajikistan, due to historical and cultural ties with Iran and the former Iranian empires, is regarded as a part of the Greater Iran. Post Arab revitalization of Persian culture began in Khorassan, the historic North-Easter Iranian province, under the Samanid Dynasty. Samarqand and Bokhara flourished and became major trade, scientific and cultural hubs. Tajik Independence: Iran was the first nation to establish an embassy in Dushanbe. It was also one of the first countries to extend diplomatic recognition of the newly independent Tajikistan in 1991. Iran provided diplomatic assistance and built new mosques within Tajikistan. Due to the resurgence of Iranian culture within Tajikistan, Iran helped encourage cultural exchange through conferences, media, and film festivals. Iranian television programs, magazines, and books became increasingly common in Tajikistan. However, despite the many things the nations have in common, there are also vast differences. Tajikistan\'s post communist government is secular while Iran\'s is Islamic. Furthermore, Iran is a predominantly Shi’a nation while Tajikistan is Sunni. The leading figures of the Islamic revival movement in Tajikistan have stated that Iran would not be a model for whatever Islamic government they advocate for Tajikistan. Tajik Civil War: During the civil war in Tajikistan, Iran offered to mediate between the two factions; however, these efforts did not produce any negotiations. In 1995, Tajikistan opened its first embassy in Tehran, one of the few outside of the former USSR. Relations have since grown stronger, as the two nations cooperate together in the energy sector and officials from both nations have supported stronger ties. Post Tajik Civil War: President Ahmadinejad of Iran has commented that \'Iran and Tajikistan are one spirit in two bodies\'. He also added that there are no limits to the expansion of relations between the two countries and that \'We do not feel that we have a non-Iranian guest with us, thanks to the many commonalities our two countries share\'. On February 12, 2011, Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi, at an event in Dushanbe celebrating the anniversary of Iran\'s Islamic Revolution, stated, \'Today, THE Tajik society is witnessing the Islamic Republic of Iran\'s activity and role in the growth and expansion of Tajikistan\'s economy.\' Zarifi referenced projects like the Sangtodeh-2 power plant, Anzob Tunnel and Istiklol Tunnel and as examples of Iran\'s role in the Tajik economy.