10.11.15

Russia Iran getting closer

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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (2nd L) and Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh (R) sign documents for cooperation in Tehran on Sept. 9, 2015. ©ISNA
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (2nd L) and Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh (R) sign documents for cooperation in Tehran on Sept. 9, 2015. ©ISNA
 
Presstv.com
Iran’s Minister of Communication and IT Mahmoud Vaezi is heading to Moscow on Tuesday with a delegation of 70 traders as the two major allies fast-track their expansion of ties in time for the lifting of sanctions.
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Several key issues are to be discussed, including Russia’s plans to open a $5 billion credit line for Iran, the idea of establishing a joint bank and Iran’s membership in the Eurasian Development Bank.
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“Relations between Iran and Russia have entered a new phase in all aspects. In our visit, we will negotiate with the Russians about diverse issues,” Vaezi told reporters in Tehran on the eve of the visit.
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Oil, gas and petrochemicals as well as construction of power plants and railways are some of the areas reserved for discussion, he said.
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Vazei and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak are to chair a meeting of a joint economic commission to discuss “comprehensive packages for expansion of ties in various fields and make necessary decisions”, the IRNA news agency said.
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The Iranian minister is tagged along by representatives of leading state and private organizations.
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“Given the current situation, Iran-Russia relations have undergone a new change from political, cultural, security and international perspective and we hope to be able to expand our economic and industrial ties in pace with them,” Vaezi said.
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The visit follows Novak’s trip to Tehran last month with a large delegation of representatives from 50 Russian companies.
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Novak announced Russia’s plan to open a $5 billion credit line for infrastructure projects in Iran, including electrifying a train line connecting north central Iran to the northeastern border with Turkmenistan at a cost of $1.2 billion.
The minister called Iran as Russia's "most important economic and trade partner", saying bilateral trade stands at “more than $1 billion which is not enough" and has to be raised.
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Novak said Tehran and Moscow have devised a package of projects that are collectively worth $35 billion to $40 billion.
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In his visit, the two countries discussed expanding trade in oil, gas, electricity, transport, and telecommunications as well as defense cooperation.
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Russia has acted quickly to cement ties with Iran after the international nuclear accord reached with Islamic Republic in July.
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Moscow has indicated to allow Iran into the Eurasian economic, political and military bloc, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), after sanctions are lifted on Tehran.
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The two countries are also working to create a joint bank and carry out their transactions in local currencies.
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Iran is also interested in joining the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), founded in 2006 by intergovernmental agreements between Russia and Kazakhstan.