Economy, Business And Markets

Russia May Provide $2.5b Loan to Iran

Russia May Provide $2.5b Loan to IranRussia May Provide $2.5b Loan to Iran

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow may provide Tehran with a loan for infrastructure projects totaling $2.5 billion, although a final decision on the amount and terms of the loan are being discussed.

Novak made the statement to journalists following a meeting with Mahmoud Vaezi, the co-chairman of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission.

As recently as last autumn, Russia was discussing the possibility of providing two loans to Iran: one for $5 billion and another for $2.2 billion, Russian sources reported.

“The profile companies confirmed that in the coming days, they will sign contracts on the construction of a thermal power plant and rail line electrification. We await the final terms and cost. The current discussion is for a total of up to $2.5 billion for those two projects,” he said.

  Talks With Russian Banks

Asadollah Askaroladi, the head of Iran-Russia Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday officials from the Central Bank of Iran and top domestic banks have held talks with 10 Russian banks to help boost trade between the two countries.

“Money transactions have posed a major challenge for mutual trade. We need banks to guarantee trade both in rial and ruble for merchants in Iran and Russia,” quoted Askaroladi as saying.

“The trade volume between the two countries declined because of using third-party countries,” he added, noting that they are now trying to lift it from $2 billion annually to $3 billion next year.

The business magnate noted that in view of the two countries’ scale of relations, $2 billion is meager and trade between Iran and Russia is planned to increase by 35% annually.

Askaroladi welcomed the recent easing of visa and transport restrictions for businesspeople and called for more clarification in Russia’s customs tariff.

Under a new agreement, Russian and Iranian businesspeople might refer to Iran-Russia Chamber of Commerce and receive their visas in three days.

As part of other developments between the two countries, the Russian TEMP Bank will launch its representative office in Tehran. RFC Bank is also ready to open letters of credit for Iranian businesses.

Bank Melli Iran and Russia’s VTB bank have also reached agreements to expand relations.

The two countries are also planning to trade in national currencies, though talks have not been finalized.