Iran–Philippines relations

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Iranian-Filipino relations
Map indicating locations of Iran and Philippines



Iran-Philippines refer to foreign relations between Iran and the Philippines. Diplomatic relations were established in August 16, 1974, with Iran having an embassy in Manila and the Philippines having an embassy in Tehran.[1] There is a community of thousands of Iranians in the Philippines including many international students drawn by the country's low-cost English education.[2][3]

Diplomatic relations[edit]

Iran and the Philippines have embassies in one another’s capitals, though the two do not shared extensive bilateral relations. In August 2003, Manila and Tehran held their first bilateral conference entitled "Dialogue Among Civilizations".[4] In April 2008, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo called for the expansion of bilateral ties with Iran and claimed that the two countries have enjoyed good relations in the past, giving promise to a positive future relationship.

During an April 2009 meeting with the Filipino Ambassador to Iran, Generoso Senga, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki noted the positive nature of bilateral ties and expressed hope that relations, especially in the fields of energy, technology, science, and culture, would continue to expand. In the same meeting, Mottaki blamed the reactions of “extra-regional powers” for expanding extremism in Asia. In February 2010, the Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila opened Iranian Cultural Week, which hosted a series of programs and exhibits on Iranian culture. The series was attended by Iran’s cultural ambassador and several Iranian cultural and political figures.[5]

On June 28, 2010, Mottaki demanded that the Philippine government conduct “an effective investigation” into a bus crash that left several Iranian medical students dead. Ambassador Senaga responded to Mottaki’s concerns saying he has “been pursuing the incident. Iranian Ambassador to the Philippines Ali Asghar Mohammadi said that's "Iran is committed to improving its overall relationship with the Philippines".[6]

Economic relations[edit]

Hydrocarbons remain the main avenue of economic interaction for Iran and the Philippines. In 2006, the Philippines purchased between 70,000 and 110,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran, making the country one of the Philippines’ most significant trade partners in the region.In 2008, Iran agreed to invest $125 million petrochemical market in the Philippines.[7][8]

Iran and the Philippines have agreed to ensure better labour conditions for Filipino maritime workers. The sides penned a memorandum of agreement following a June 2010 meeting of the 2010 Diplomatic Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping. According to the agreement, Iran will henceforth recognize Philippine maritime certificates of competencies. Then-Filipino Labor Secretary Marianito Roque expressed his “appreciation to the Iranian government for its willingness to enter into an agreement with the Philippines and claimed that “the recognition is essential to the continued employment of Filipino seafarers in the international maritime industry.[9][10]

US-led sanction on Iran[edit]

As part of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program by the United States, the Philippines was pressured to import less oil from Iran to avoid facing sanctions itself.[11] On 2011, the Philippines imported 5.9 million barrels of crude oil from Iran. However by the end of March 2012, the Philippines did not import any oil from Iran.[12] Earlier on January 2012, President Benigno Aquino III appealed a number of U.S. lawmakers to consider Philippine interests, that it would want to maintain "non-harmful" trade with Iran.[13] Philippine fruit exports to Iran was greatly affected.[14] 30 percent of Philippine banana exports goes to Iran.[13]

In June 2013, Iran has expressed concerns for the Philippines that the country is "missing opportunities" for giving in with the United States and other Western countries demand to cooperate in their efforts to sanction Iran. Ali A. Mohammadi, Iranian ambassador to the Philippines, noted that annual trade between Iran and the Philippines dropped to "minimal level", from 2011's balance of $900 million.[15]

Nuclear program[edit]

Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis voiced his government's support in June 2008 for Iran's right to use peaceful nuclear energy. The undersecretary said that given rising hydrocarbon prices, all countries should be able to access civilian nuclear energy. In April 2008 Romulo also said that his country supports Iran’s right to access peaceful nuclear technology under the safeguards of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Farsnews". Farsnews. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  2. ^ "National Day of Iran". Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. February 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ Population by country of citizenship, sex, and urban/rural residence; each census, 1985–2004, United Nations Statistics Division, 2005, retrieved 2011-06-15 
  4. ^ "Philippines Kean to Boost Ties with Iran". Far News University. April 19, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Manila hosting Iranian Cultural Week". Tehran Times. February 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Iran Committed Improving Relations with PH". Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. February 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Iran Ready To Increase Crude Oil Supply To Philippines". People' Daily Online. February 11, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Iran makes 125 million investment in Philippines". Organization for Investment Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran. February 6, 2008. 
  9. ^ "RP, Iran Pact for Filipino Seafarers’ Employment". GMA News. June 29, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Bilateral agreement with Iran signed". Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. July 1, 2010. 
  11. ^ "BUY LESS Iran oil, US tells PH". Tempo. January 13, 2012. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b "Philippines seeks consideration in U.S. sanctions vs. Iran - Xinhua |". 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  14. ^ "Iran sanctions hurt Philippines producers". 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  15. ^ Paul Gutierrez (2013-06-23). "Stop kowtowing to West, Iran urges PH | Top Stories". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  16. ^ "Iran-Philippine ties should grow". Manila Times. July 31, 2011.