Economy, Domestic Economy

Iranian Businesses Forge Deals With Astrakhan, Moscow

Iranian Businesses Forge Deals With Astrakhan, MoscowIranian Businesses Forge Deals With Astrakhan, Moscow

Heading a delegation of representatives from the public and private sectors, Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi left Tehran for Russia’s Astrakhan last Tuesday to meet with the province’s governor, Alexander Zhilkin.

The delegation then headed to Moscow where Vaezi and Russian officials attended meetings on expansion of bilateral ties in various fields.

Discussions in Astrakhan revolved around ways of enhancing economic, banking and financial relations between the two sides and expanding cooperation in tourism, the possibility of increasing direct flights, the launching of a branch of Mir Bank–a subsidiary of Bank Melli Iran–and an Iranian trade center in Astrakhan, IRNA reported.

According to Astrakhan officials, in the near future, the province will become a hub for the loading and unloading of Iranian goods, facilitating their shipping to other parts of Russia.

On Wednesday, Vaezi held a meeting with Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov in Moscow where the two sides agreed on expanding cooperation in telecommunications, ICT, optical fibers and virtual education in schools.

Also on Wednesday, the Iranian official met with Trade Minister of the Eurasian Economic Union Veronica Nikishina.

“We are optimistic that the preliminary agreements regarding temporary free trade between Iran and member states of the EEU will take effect by the end of 2016,” Vaezi said.

The idea of free trade between Iran and members of EEU was earlier surveyed in Moscow in a meeting between a delegation from the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran and a high-ranking economic delegation from EEU in May.

The meeting came after the Board of Directors of the Eurasian Economic Commission agreed on May 16 to begin consultations on a temporary agreement on a free trade area with Iran.

Tehran recently reached an agreement to export pistachio, cauliflower, broccoli, date and different kinds of raisin at zero tariff to EEU member states, namely Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

In a meeting held between Vaezi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov on Thursday, the Russian official said the draft of an industrial roadmap, proposing joint cooperation in 70 projects, has been handed to Iranian officials for consideration.

“There is ample ground for cooperation between the two sides in fields ranging from industry and oil and gas to agriculture. We are interested in expanding our ties in the joint production of cargo wagons and pharmaceutical and biotechnological interactions,” said Manturov.

  €2.2b Loan for Iranian Projects

On Friday, the last day of the Iranian delegation’s stay in Moscow, Vaezi held a meeting with Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak and discussed issues concerning banking, investments, customs formalities and issuance of visa.

According to Novak, draft agreements have been prepared based on which Moscow will allocate a €2.2 billion loan to Tehran, which will finance the construction of power plants in the south of Iran as well as the electrification of close to 500 kilometers of rail line in Iran.

Russia’s Technopromexport and Iran’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Company have signed a contract for the construction of four units of the Hormozgan thermal power plant with a capacity of 350 MW each on a turn-key basis, TASS news agency reported.

During the 12th session of Iran-Russia Cooperation Commission in Moscow last November, which was jointly chaired by Vaezi and Novak, the two sides pledged to raise annual bilateral trade to $40 billion based on a roadmap devised after three days of marathon talks among representatives from Iran’s public and private sectors and their Russian counterparts.

In 2014, Iran-Russia trade amounted to $1.7 billion, which experienced a 30% increase in 2015. Two-way trade showed a 69% increase during the first half of 2016 as compared to last year’s corresponding period.