Tehran, Moscow set the roadmap for strategic economic co-op

July 30, 2016 - 19:31

Iran and Russia are to sign a five-year strategic cooperation plan on more than 70 industrial projects. The two countries conferred on taking bilateral economic partnership into a new level during the four-day visit of Iranian Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi to Moscow, starting from July 26, and his meetings with various Russian senior officials including Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

Vaezi and Novak, who co-chaired the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, told reporters about the outcomes of their meeting in a news conference on Friday.

“My colleague [Vaezi] and I have agreed to sign in the near future a roadmap for projects in the field of industry between Russia and Iran… This roadmap is currently being finalized and it consists of more than 70 specific projects to be implemented between Iran and Russia,” Novak told the TV channel Rossiya 24.

 Building 1,400MW power plant

The sides signed a contract for the construction of a power station in Iran’s southern Hormozgan province. The power plant’s four generators will have a 1,400-megawatt capacity, RT reported.

According to Vaezi, Tehran plans new energy contracts with Russia in the near future.

Approving deal on €2.2b loan to Iran

Russia and Iran have prepared a package of agreements on allocating a 2.2 billion euro loan to Tehran for infrastructure projects in Iran, including the construction of the aforementioned power station, TASS reported.

“These two draft agreements were coordinated in the Russian government - 2.2 billion euros in total in the framework of agreements will be provided as an inter-state loan,” Novak said.

Establishing free trade zone

The two sides expect a joint study group working on the establishment of a free trade zone (FTZ) by the end of 2016, Novak was quoted by Sputnik as saying.

“We discussed the issues related to the study into the possibility of establishing the FTZ and have noted the progress made in this direction. We expect that by the end of the year, a joint study group will finish the work and will submit proposals of the action plan for the FTZ preparation,” he explained.

Expanding oil ties

Almost all Russian oil and gas companies have shown an interest in energy exploration and production projects in Iran, Novak admitted, RT reported.

Gazprom is interested in developing Iranian gas supply and production, said the Russian energy minister, while Lukoil wants to resume cooperation in the Anaran oil project which it had to abandon in 2010 due to Western sanctions against Iran.

In two or three months Iran will reach its pre-sanctions oil output level of four million barrels a day. As Vaezi announced, the country has already regained 80 percent of the market share it held before the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions on its oil industry in 2012.

 Enhancing banking relations

Moscow and Tehran have also agreed to continue cooperation in the banking sector, with the central banks meeting in August, RT wrote.

“Development of the interbank lending opportunities, mutual credit, provides additional opportunities and momentum for our companies in cooperation,” Novak said.

“As far as I know, the nearest meeting between our [Russia and Iran] central banks will be held in August. A relevant working team meeting to summarize once again measures for cooperation development in this [banking] sphere will be held in September,” Novak said.

“We have agreed that the president of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will pay a visit to Russia,” Vaezi affirmed.

Broadening trade ties

Relations between Russia and Iran have improved dramatically in recent years, with Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting Tehran in November last year, Novak said, according to the Moscow Times.

“During this time, our trade turnover has increased by 70 percent, and we have agreed to create the necessary legal framework to aid the growing relationships between entrepreneurs in our two countries.”

The ministers also agreed on a further 13 treaties dealing with trade, customs clearance and investment.

Improving communication ties

Moscow and Tehran will hold talks on the resumption of the Russian search engine Yandex in Iran, the ban on which can be removed before the end of the year, according to the Iranian communications minister, Sputnik reported.

“Four different committees will be set up after the meeting I had. They will organize everything and will cover many issues, including Yandex,” Vaezi said.

In addition, Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation might receive an order for the supply of components for Iranian satellites, Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov said.

As reported, before going to Moscow, Iranian communications minister, visited Russian city of Astrakhan, which has turned to be a hub for Iranian businessmen in Southern Russia.

During his stay in Russia, Vaezi also met with Russian Minister of Communication and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.

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