Russia: Trade With Iran at "New Level"

 Russia: Trade With Iran at "New Level"
 Russia: Trade With Iran at "New Level"

Iran's negotiations with China and Russia are underway during the 11th Iran-Russia Joint Commission to assess possible areas for cooperation, said Mansour Moazzami deputy oil minister of planning and supervision of hydrocarbon resources in a press conference Monday, Shana reported.

The joint-commission was held with the participation of Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Russian Oil Minister Alexander Novak and Secretary General of the Private-Sector Parliament Hossein Noghrekar Shirazi in the Tehran Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

"The quality of trade relations between Iran and Russia has reached a new level," Novak said after the meeting. "Cooperation between Iran and Russia started in the middle of the 20th century, when power stations and major institutions were built in Russia and Iran, and researchers from both countries cooperated with." 

The Russian minister said currently trade between the two neighbors is almost "$1.5 billion… This figure should reach $10 billion."

Regarding the economic sanctions on Iran and Russia, he said it had reduced the relations between Iran and Russia; nevertheless, decisions need to be taken so that the sanctions do not (negatively) affect economic relations. 

"Russian companies are willing to provide Iran with the latest equipment and technology."

Some 40 Russian companies are attending the Tehran meeting and are ready to promote trade and economic cooperation with Iran in various sectors, the minister was quoted by Shana as saying.

"Policies of the two countries are close and we have mutual interests regarding issues in Syria, Iraq, the Caspian Sea, and Afghanistan."

Zanganeh told the meeting: "It was previously in the purview of the foreign minister to host the commissions.  The participation of the oil minister as chairman of the event points to the vast potential for Iran and Russia in the oil and energy sectors and the excellent opportunities to improve energy diplomacy."

He underlined the importance of activating energy diplomacy for taking advantage of current potential and said, "Progressive talks with the Russians are underway during the joint-commission with all parties exploring possible opportunities for cooperation."

Diplomatic Agenda

"The government is keen to exploit the potential in energy diplomacy and the foreign minister is well placed to drive our diplomacy agenda forward," said Moazzami, who believes that diplomacy is the art of taking advantage of opportunities. "The oil ministry works in tandem with the country's general policies" he stated.

He recalled Saudi Arabia's strong participation in international energy markets and said, "We will become vulnerable if we fail to realize our potential."

On the consumption and production of oil and gas in the world, he said, "Less than 50 percent of 1688 billion barrels of oil reserves in the world is in the Middle East and this perfectly explains the emergence of IS and other political conflicts in the region."

Economy of Resistance

Moazzami noted that the 'Economy of Resistance' - recommended by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to counter the sanctions- is to lead Iran out of a single-product economy. "The policy seeks to diversify the basket of energy and increase exports."

"Around $70 billion worth of projects are presented to the Economy Council under Note G of the national budget. This is a huge step forward in the oil industry which would help improve energy management and reduce the consumption of energy in the public transportation system."

Increasing Exports Capacity

Increasing Iran's export capacity in the energy sector, improving production capacity and embarking on the export of petroleum products instead of crude oil, bolsters the bargaining power of the country on international stages and positively influences Tehran's talks with the G5+1 World Powers, according to Moazzami.

He stressed that the West has waged an outright economic war by imposing sanctions on Iran and that those behind the sanctions want to bring the country to its knees. "We will not yield to this, and we will use every opportunity to bypass the sanctions."

Homayoun Haeri, managing director of Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (TAVANIR) also stated that Russia planned to add 3500 megawatts to the country's energy grid. "The Montazeri and Ramin plants will be expanded, while four new power plants will be constructed in Sahand, Bandar Abbas, Tabriz and Tabas", he said in a meeting with Novak.

Russia has a rich background in steam and coal plants and it plans to employ "a new generation of technologies" in the Ramin and Montazeri plants in Iran, stated Haeri.

Deputy Oil Minister for International and Commercial Affairs Ali Majedi reported that the comprehensive cooperation with Russia will cover oil, gas, petrochemical and refinery sectors.

"Iran will not barter oil for goods," he stressed.

The head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi also metwith Novak on Tuesday and expressed hope for an agreement to be signed between Iran and Russia during the President Hassan Rouhani's upcoming visit to Moscow.  He unveiled future plans, stating "Iran and Russia are to establish two 1000 megawatt nuclear reactors."