Russia and Iran raise cooperation to new level
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held talks at the summit of the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries (GECF) in Tehran, which culminated in the signing of a number of Russian-Iranian agreements.
Rouhani pointed out that the relations between Iran and Russia are developing and moving to a new stage, and Putin said that the two countries are set to expand trade relations, focusing on diversification of trade and to make a wide use of national currencies in bilateral deals. According to the Russian leader, the sides have selected 35 priority projects in the areas of energy, construction, terminals, railways.
Putin also expressed readiness to extend a $5 billion state loan to Iran to promote industrial cooperation. In addition, the Eurasian Economic Union will look at possible establishment of a free trade zone with Iran in practical terms, the Russian president said, adding that Russia will help Iran to convert nuclear facilities to manufacture products for scientific purposes, Lenta.ru reports.
Following the talks, Russian Railways subsidiary signed a design and construction contract with the Iranian Railway Company under the project for the electrification of the Gamsar-Inche-Burun railway section, Russia’s Tekhnopromexport and Iran’s holding company for electricity production at thermal station signed an agreement for the construction of a heat electricity plant and a desalination plant in the vicinity of the city of Bandar Abbas. Russia’s Vnesheconombank, Russia’s EXIAR and Iran’s Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding to promote investment activities,guarantee support, export financing and trade ties. Russia’s Rosgeologiya and the Iranian Department of Energy have signed a basic agreement on deep groundwater on the territory of Iran.
The director of the Social and Political Research Center, the head of the Caucasus department at the Institute of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Vladimir Yevseyev, told Vestnik Kavkaza that during the talks the two leaders achieved significant progress in various areas.
"In fact, Russia has announced that during the Syrian operations it will coordinate its work with Iran, which means bilateral cooperation in the military sphere, which is very important because Russia and Iran are coordinating during combat operations against radical Islamists for the first time. Secondly, Russia and Iran agreed to cooperate to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis. And there was an extremely important decision on the Russian Federation's readiness to import low-enriched uranium from Iran," the expert noted.
"In addition, Russia has expressed readiness to provide the technology needed for the conversion of nuclear facilities at Fordow and the heavy water reactor under construction near Arak," the analyst noted.
"The third bloc raised during the talks is economic cooperation. Russia's willingness to provide a state loan of $5 billion and $2 billion from Vnesheconombank is a very serious move, because now Iran's economy is in a difficult position. You have to understand that this money will not fall into Iran immediately, but the readiness of Russia to make such a significant financial investment suggests that Russia is creating a basis for economic cooperation with Iran," Vladimir Yevseyev stressed.
"Another important fact is that Russia has launched a contract to supply Iran with anti-aircraft missile systems. This will withdraw the lawsuit of $4 billion against Rosoboronexport. In general, the visit of Vladimir Putin can be considered as very successful," Yevseyev concluded.