Economy, Business And Markets

Potentials of Russia-Iran Relations

Potentials of Russia-Iran RelationsPotentials of Russia-Iran Relations

On Jan. 27, Iran’s ambassador to Russia, Mehdi Sanaei stated that the two countries are well on their way to offering visa-free travel for citizens of both countries by the end of 2015.

The announcement was made following a memorandum of understanding between Moscow and Tehran signed in the Russian capital.

The ambassador stated that both countries tourists and businessmen have been crying out for this relief as visas for both sides are difficult to obtain and the process arduous.

Sputnik news in an interview with Sanaei wrote, “It’s difficult for our businessmen to get a visa to Russia, especially a long-term visa, but we are happy that in 2014 our ministers [of foreign affairs], Sergei Lavrov and Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed on the easing of the visa regime, especially for businessmen and tourists.”

The possible lifting of travel restrictions between Iran and Russia is momentous in the history of the two countries’ relations. The path to this announcement has been hundreds of years in the making when referring to two-way relations.


The prospects of a visa-free region between Iran and Russia, do offer some very interesting propositions over the short-to-medium term.

 What is beneficial for Iranians is the accessibility via Russia into eastern European and Central Asian markets, among them Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. Russia could become a beneficial mutual space for European and Iranian businesses to strike deals on neutral ground before shipping goods and services through Russian entry points. This is especially possible as the North-South corridor, a joint pact signed between India, Iran and Russia, will open up the entire Central Asia and CIS countries to trade on a scale never seen before.


Iranians often holiday in middle income countries like Turkey, Malaysia, India and Thailand and Russia could become a natural fit in terms of vacation when you think about the price of hotel packages in black sea resorts and the distance between the two countries.

Vice-versa, Iran may become a major destination for medical treatments for many Russians, as Tehran hosts some the best clinics in the Middle East and Central Asia.

It has been noted that Russians often make the trip to Tehran clinics for specialist treatments, dental care and other cosmetic procedures.

Russians are interested in the historical sites throughout the country, and this would give another boost to Iran’s gradually reemerging tourism industry.


This potential visa removal also has other added benefits not noticeable on the outset. Firstly as relations warm between the two sides, academic exchanges and transfer may be noticeable in the years following.

Currently there is little to no knowledge about what Russian higher institutions could offer Iranian students and likewise the same for Iranian higher education institutions; however, this could become a major area of growth if the deal were given a go ahead. And if this were possible that Iranian students gain internationally accredited degrees in Russian universities, and Russian researchers study work in Iran, this would in turn boost cooperation and goodwill.

 Industry & Hydrocarbons

Both Russia and Iran have indigenously produced automobiles and with the advantages of the Caspian Sea in the middle, joint car producing plants can be built in cities, like Astrakhan in Russia and Rasht in Iran.

Other industries namely defense, gas and oil can get a boost with the advent of restriction free travel for both communities.

Whatever the path two-way ties take in the near future, Iran’s northern frontier is likely to become as busy the country’s southern ones.