The Government has defended its plan to sign a bilateral cooperation agreement with Iran pointing out that Iran has diplomatic relations with 102 countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade says the Leader of Opposition's condemnation of the move is regrettable.

A statement from the Ministry says Solomon Islands has adopted a Foreign Policy that is based on the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter.

The statement says as such Solomon Islands interact with the international community beyond the 51 of the 192 countries that it has diplomatic relations with by being members of the United Nations.

Solomon Islands are yet to establish diplomatic relations with Iran.

It has however signed a Cooperative Memorandum with Iran which basically allows for the two countries to explore specific cooperative arrangements, including the possibility of formalizing diplomatic relations.

Iran and Solomon Islands are both members of the Group of Developing Countries at the UN, hence the Cooperative Memorandum was signed within the spirit of South-South Cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Minister William Haomae is currently in Iran.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade says that Mr Haomae is in Iran to further explore specific arrangements under a Memorandum of Understanding the two countries have signed.

A statement from the Ministry says Solomon Islands as an independent nation is at liberty to establish diplomatic ties with countries which are members of the united Nations of which Iran is.

Brushing aside criticisms made by the Leader of Opposition in the planned establishment of diplomatic ties with Iran, the ministry of Foreign Affairs says Solomon Islands must be a friend to all and enemy to none.

It says Solomon Islands is part of the bigger world and rely on other countries as well.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry says there may be differences but differences should not dictate who Solomon Islands interacts with.

It says that establishing diplomatic ties with a particular state does not necessarily imply that Solomon Islands support every position or view that that government or country holds on certain issues.

SOURCE: Press Release/SIBC