The Deputy Prime Minister’s visit included a number of bilateral meetings on broadening cooperation between Russia and Iran in various sectors of the economy, and a meeting with representatives of the country's business community.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak paid a working visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, where he discussed the further prospects for cooperation between Russia and Iran, including the implementation of key bilateral projects.
In particular, during the meeting with First Vice President of Iran Mohammad Mokhber, Alexander Novak touched upon various aspects of bilateral cooperation in a range of economic sectors.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the two countries’ leaders, both sides continue working to create favourable conditions for expanding business cooperation, the Deputy Prime Minister said during a meeting with Russian and Iranian business leaders. “Special conditions are being created to support a dramatic expansion of cooperation. The two countries are pursuing a policy to increase trade, economic, logistics, investment, financial and banking cooperation despite the unprecedented pressure that Russia is experiencing from unfriendly countries today,” Alexander Novak said.
Our flagship cooperation projects, such as the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and the Sirik thermal power plant, play an important role in the expansion of bilateral ties, the Deputy Prime Minister continued. “Such projects will give fresh impetus to our relations, increase trade and expand partnerships,” he commented.
Growing trade between Russia and Iran is the result of the deepening business cooperation between the two countries. Last year was a record one for bilateral trade, Alexander Novak said. “At the end of 2021, turnover was almost $4 billion, up 81 percent, and continued to grow in 2022 - by more than 10 percent in the first quarter. Despite the current geopolitical situation, Russia has been able to create the necessary reserves of resiliency in order to continue to grow and transform the economy. We are ready to continue implementing current projects and launching new ones,” he added.
At the same time, comfortable conditions are being created for domestic businesses both in Russia and in international trade, according to the Deputy Prime Minister.
“Together with our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union, we have already exempted about 15 percent of Russian imports from duties, and this may become one of the stimulus measures to boost trade and economic relations. The procedures for certification and declaration of products have sped up, control at the border has been simplified, and transport and logistics barriers are being lifted. Today we can see a significant number of vacant market niches waiting to be filled, including by Iranian products,” the Deputy Prime Minister added.
President of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce Masoud Khansari noted that the role of US dollar in bilateral trade had decreased.
“With the declining role of the dollar in bilateral trade, trade between the two countries will reach $10 billion as part of the first stage,” he said.
The main cooperation projects between Russia and Iran were discussed in detail at the bilateral meeting between the co-chairs of the Permanent Russia-Iran Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, Alexander Novak and Iranian Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji. During the talks, the parties discussed the development of trade relations and cooperation in various sectors of the economy.
“Russia is among the few countries that sincerely supported the nation of Iran under sanctions and now, under unprecedented sanction pressure, is ready to study Iran’s experience and develop important trade and economic projects together,” Alexander Novak underscored at the meeting.
In addition, the Russian and Iranian delegations had a wide-ranging exchange on the countries’ cooperation in the banking and finance sector. The parties consider it important to expand cooperation in the financial sector, including by harmonising the financial messaging system, integrating the Mir and Shetab payment systems, as well as domestic currency settlements, Alexander Novak said at a meeting with businesses. The participants also discussed the development of partnerships in the field of transport, for example logistics centres and services for the transshipment of Russian cargo at the ports of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and cross-border cooperation between the regions of Russia and Iran.
The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is going to create synergies for both economies and give a powerful boost to Russia’s and Iran’s trade with the countries of the Caspian basin and the Persian Gulf, Alexander Novak continued. “It is a landmark project that could become key in promoting our trade and economic cooperation. Today’s traffic is about 15 million tonnes, and over the next three to five years, it may grow to 30-50 million tonnes. We agreed that we need to draw up a detailed action plan in order to start expanding the capacity of this transport logistics network. We also discussed the specific steps we need to take to increase the volume of transportation by sea and expand the use of seaports both on the territory of Russia and on the territory of Iran – with the launch of a container ferry service,” he added. This will ensure mutual deliveries of goods, as well as the transit of goods arriving from the Persian Gulf, the Deputy Prime Minister noted.
The parties further discussed cooperation in nuclear energy and in the energy sector as a whole. “We discussed at length swapping supplies of gas and oil, as well as increasing investment in joint oil and gas projects,” Alexander Novak commented after the meeting.
Tehran strives to boost Iran's trade with Russia to $40 billion, Iranian Petroleum Minister Javad Owji said, adding that a special working group headed by First Vice President of Iran Mohammad Mokhber had been established for this purpose. It includes government ministers, and the President of Iran monitors its activity.
Following the talks, the parties signed a joint statement, as well as a memorandum of understanding between the Russian Union of Chemists and Iran's NPC (National Petrochemical Company) on technical cooperation in petrochemistry.
At the end of his visit, Alexander Novak discussed the possibilities of reducing trade barriers with Saeed Mohammad, Advisor to the President of Iran on Free Trade-Industrial and Special Economic Zones.