Iran has hailed the possibility of trade with Russia offering a path to economic recovery, amid ongoing challenges following implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal.
The Iranian Ambassador to Russia, Mohammad Sanai, proclaimed the “highest growth” in transactions in 2016, as the Russian Foreign Ministry published figures pointing to an 80% rise to more than $2 billion.
“I believe this trend will be maintained in the next two or three years and bilateral trade volume will reach $10 billion,” Sanai said.
Most of the 2016 trade was in energy, agriculture, and defense sales.
Despite the evolving political links between Iran and Russia, including over the Syrian crisis, Moscow is still a relatively minor trading partner for the Islamic Republic, with only a small fraction of Iran’s estimated exports of about $88 billion in 2016 and imports of $80 billion in the previous year. China, India, Japan, and Turkey are Iran’s primary trade outlets.
But Tehran is keen to promote the possibility of a trade and investment surge, as ongoing US sanctions continue to restrict possibilities in areas such as Europe. President Hassan Rouhani is due to visit Moscow soon, with ceremonies for the signing of 11 memorandum of cooperation.
Iran’s Communication Minister Mahmoud Vaezi has said an agreement is being pursued under which Iran would export 100,000 barrels per day of oil to Russia, with Russian officials saying the “oil-for-goods” deal could reach $45 billion annually.
Russia would pay 50% in goods such as railroad items, heavy trucks, and supplies for the aviation industry and 50% in cash.
The two countries will also discuss the creation of a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran during the Rouhani visit.
TOP PHOTO: Iran’s President Rouhani and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (File)