Tehran, Moscow set to expand economic cooperation

MOSCOW – Iran and Russia will finalize in the near future a previously signed agreement to expand bilateral economic cooperation.
In a meeting between Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow, the two sides agreed to finalize the agreement to boost trade and economic ties.
Heading a delegation, Zanganeh arrived in Moscow late Thursday to hold talks with Russian officials.
During his daylong visit to Russia, he also met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
In February 2013, the 10th session of Iran-Russia intergovernmental commission was held in Moscow. The parties discussed different ways to increase trade turnover and searched for a financial scheme, which would allow Russian companies to supply metallurgy, machine-building and energy equipment products to Iran.
Moreover, in a meeting which was held on March 8 between Iranian businessmen with their Russian counterparts in Moscow, the two sides discussed ways to give a boost to their bilateral trade and economic ties.
Iran’s ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei believes it’s time to start a new chapter in Iranian-Russian relations. It’s impossible to plan long-term relations in the modern world without strengthening economic ties.
“Unfortunately, our economic ties are decreasing. That doesn’t meet our countries’ interests,” the ambassador said.
Indeed, bilateral trade dropped from $2.33 billion in 2012 to $1.59 billion last year, a meager amount, considering the two countries’ economic potential.
On February 19, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia has been negotiating with Iran to increase trade volume based on energy cooperation.
“Both parties considered Russia’s participation in constructing power plants on the territory of Iran and developing deposits. We seek to increase trade turnover and expand the presence of our companies on the Iranian market,” the minister said.
“This will give a possibility to develop and restore our trade at the level before sanctions were imposed. Thus, this issue is pressing,” he said.

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