Economy, Business And Markets

Tehran, Moscow Expanding Housing, Construction Ties

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi met with the Russian ministers of construction, railroads and North Caucasus during his trip to Russia
Iranian and Russian officials formed a joint working group to follow up on the agreements.Iranian and Russian officials formed a joint working group to follow up on the agreements.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi has signed an agreement for implementing a cooperation program with Moscow in housing and construction sectors.

The agreement for the cooperation program was signed on Thursday when Akhoundi visited Moscow and met with Russian Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Mikhail Men.

After holding a joint economic commission and signing the agreement, both sides discussed other fields of bilateral efforts, namely exchange of know-how and expertise in construction regulations and quake-resistant buildings, the official news portal of Iran's Roads Ministry reported.

Both sides discussed issues that are of utmost importance in the Iranian housing and construction sector, including revitalization and renovation of distressed urban areas, mechanisms of financing the housing sector and establishing new cities.

Iranian and Russian officials then reportedly formed a joint working group to follow up on the agreements while also reviewing and negotiating the establishment of a housing finance fund.

Welcoming the Iranian delegation, the Russian minister noted that the bilateral meeting will serve as the foundation for the development of Russian-Iranian relations in the fields of construction, housing and utilities.

"The main thing in the development of our relations is to define the extent of cooperation while maintaining contact at the state level and attracting organizations and specialists from related industries to implement such cooperation," he said.

While the agreement will reportedly apply to interaction and joint work in line with obtaining the approval of the International Organization for Standardization, it also includes supervision over compliance with regulations.

Railroad Negotiations

As part of the next leg of his trip, Akhoundi met with Oleg Belozyorov, president of state-owned Russian Railways.

The main topic of discussion was the €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) agreement for the electrification of Garmsar-Inche Borun railroad in northern Iran, the preliminary deal for which was signed a year ago.

No final agreement was reached for the railroad finance deal on Thursday, but according to a press release published by Russian Railways, both sides also discussed the International North-South Transport Corridor that connects Northern Europe with Southeast Asia and is a trilateral pact signed by Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

Efforts to develop transport infrastructures in Iran gathered momentum after international sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program were lifted in January 2016 as part of a nuclear deal reached months earlier between Tehran and world powers.

With the sanctions lifted, Iran is planning to exploit its capacity in the transportation sector. Considering its strategic location in the region, the country presents itself as a potential transit hub.


North Caucasus

Akhoundi also conferred with Lev Vladimirovich Kuznetsov, the Russian minister for North Caucasus affairs, about ways of expanding bilateral ties.

Both sides reportedly stressed on realizing the priorities set after the meeting between President Hassan Rouhani and President Vladimir Putin earlier this year.

"In line with this, we in the North Caucasus region have put expansion of tourism and development of transport corridors on our agenda and are trying to develop logistics, transport, agriculture and health tourism in line with infrastructures, especially those in transportation, through the Caspian Sea," the Russia official reportedly said.

Akhoundi said the Roads Ministry is ready to work with Russia, especially North Caucasus, to expand regional ties, namely by establishing regional flights.

He also welcomed Russian finance in railroads and creation of logistic parks, especially in Iranian ports.


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