East-Oriented Policy Iran’s Strategic Choice

East-Oriented Policy Iran’s Strategic ChoiceEast-Oriented Policy Iran’s Strategic Choice

Iran's eastward orientation, first of all toward Russia, is the country's strategic choice, according to the parliament speaker.

"I would like to clarify one point: our orientation to the East, first of all to Russia, is our strategic choice. So we will open a special file for Russia, for Russia's role in the economy and infrastructure of Iran," Ali Larijani said in an interview with Russian news agency TASS published on Thursday.

He pointed to the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers and said, "Reaching an agreement on the nuclear issue opened new conditions for investment in Iran."

Larijani noted that the Islamic Republic is "an energy power, which has sources of energy, with a large number of specialists and prospects of growth".

"It is simple to invest in Iran considering that the energy [sector] and human resources are already available. That is why European entrepreneurs come to [Iran to] start their projects."

  Need to Facilitate Business Trips

The Iranian speaker said it is necessary to facilitate the visa regime between Russia and Iran.

"The more obstacles we remove for developing relations between our businesses and our people, the bigger mutual investments we will receive," he said.

Larijani said Iranian businessmen who want to travel to Russia have to spend a lot of time to comply with all necessary formalities and businessmen from Russia have to pass through the same procedure when they make business trips to Iran.

Larijani urged "creating some kind of model to facilitate mutual visits of representatives of the Russian and Iranian business delegations to speed up the process so that Iranian businessmen could learn about Russia's opportunities".

"Iranian businessmen traditionally work with Europe, so they need to be informed about possibilities of doing business in Russia. For example, in agriculture, we have overproduction of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, and these products are in demand in Russia. We have demand for wheat, and there is a surplus of it in Russia. As two neighboring countries, we could facilitate this exchange of goods. The same applies to industry and investment," he said.

The speaker added that "in any industry Russia wants to invest in—oil, gas and so on—we will give it priority. We consider Russia a reliable neighbor and we can develop steady relations with it."

  A Boost to Regional Security

Larijani said the recent delivery of Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran boosted security in the region.

"As regards the contract for supplies of S-300s, the issue is the cornerstone of defense talks between Iran and Russia," he said.

"The situation in the region obliges us to have stable security. That is why we had to decide by which means and measures that stable security could be achieved."

Larijani noted that if Iran and Russia are able to reach long-term agreements, this may help achieve stable security.

"We are interested in the long-term prospect of working with Russia on this issue … And we will leave the details of this work to our militaries," he added.