Iran to hold prominent place in Russia's trade, official says

By Aynur Karimova

Russia officials believe that Iran would stand at a prominent place in the Russian trade system.

Alexey Pushkov, the Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Duma, told journalists on February 2 that Moscow and Tehran are entering a new stage of relations as today the two countries are keen to develop trade and economic relations.

"Because Iran is no longer associated with sanctions," he said after a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, the Advisor of the Supreme Leader of Iran." At a time when the EU sanctions against Russia continue, when we are looking for new partners in the trade and economic fields, we believe that Iran could take a more prominent place in the system of our trade relations."

Pushkov believes that there is niche for it, especially in conditions when Russia's relations with Turkey have sharply reduced and ties with the EU in the field of food supply are still to be restored.

He also spoke about the negotiations held between the Iranian and Russian sides. The parliamentarians from both countries stressed the importance of military-technical cooperation, putting a special accent on the development of economic relations in other fields.

They stressed the need to increase the trade turnover between Russia and Iran, which is now roughly $3 billion, given the opportunities that the economies could provide each other, he added.

Currently, Russia and Iran are negotiating the opportunities to establish and expand cooperation in various projects, including in the energy sector.

"We just noted that the military-technical cooperation is an important direction of cooperation to develop, of course, including cooperation in the nuclear energy sector," he added. "But during the talks more emphasis was made on the necessity to develop trade and economic relations in other fields, as there existed block due to the sanctions. The structure of Russian foreign trade is now a subject to change due to European sanctions and a sharp slowdown in our relations with Turkey."

Velayati was on a four-day visit in Moscow (February 1-4) to discuss regional issues and bilateral ties with senior Russian officials.

Ahead of his departure for Moscow, Velayati described Iran and Russia as two influential countries in the region and in the world and said Iran and Russia are the main pillars of regional cooperation in fight against terrorism.

Relations between Tehran and Moscow throughout history have been very unprecedented and grounds for expansion of all-out mutual, regional and defense cooperation have been developed.

Today, sanctions-free Tehran is ready to develop strategic cooperation with Russia in all fields. The two countries enjoy all conditions for building economic cooperation.

As part of the visit to Moscow, Velayati met with Russia's Special Envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and the sides discussed the Syrian crisis, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov.

Ties with Russia priority for Tehran

Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei believes that the development of relations with Russia is a priority for Iran's foreign policy.

"Our relations are now developing in all fields, and the current period can be characterized as one of the most important and effective. And the result will be visible for many years," RIA Novosti quoted the diplomat as saying at a round table in Russian Institute for Strategic Studies on February 3.

Removal of international sanctions on Iran has given a new impetus to the Tehran-Moscow ties and will become a new basis to their development.

"As the Iranian president said last night in an interview, Russia is and will retain its priority in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is envisaged in the program of the current government," Sanaei noted.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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