The value of bilateral trade between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia can rise more than tenfold, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says.
The 11th round of Iran-Russia trade cooperation commission was held in Tehran on Tuesday in the presence of the Iranian oil minister and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak along with other members of the Iranian-Russian Joint Business Council (JBC).
“In 1392 (The last Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21, 2013 and ended on March 20, 2014), the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $1.5 billion, which has the capacity to be increased to more than 10 times through efforts” made so far, IRNA quoted Zangeneh as saying.
The three-hour long meeting, held in Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries Mines, and Agriculture, focused on the two countries’ technical and technological potentials.
The two sides stressed more comprehensive economic transactions between Tehran and Moscow.
“We can provide Russia with a wide range of commodities and services they may not have access to due to the illegal sanctions. We will sign a memorandum of understanding today with an eye to finalizing the bilateral trade deal,” the Iranian oil minister said.
Zanganeh also called Russia a “great market for Iranian companies.”
Novak, for his part, hailed greater ties with Tehran, saying, “This event is a milestone in Russian-Iranian commercial relations, which will facilitate trade between the two countries.”
The JBC’s Russian members also voiced hope that more ties with Iran could pave the way for neutralization of the US-imposed sanctions on Moscow.
“The latest sanctions imposed by the US and EU disrupted the process of fruit import to Russia from European countries like Poland, said Victor Melinkov, the JBC chairman, adding that the situation provides an opportunity for Russia to “compensate for this problem by importing fruits from Iran.”
Tensions between Russia and the West heightened after Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined the Russian Federation following a referendum in March.
The next round of the joint trade commission will be held in Moscow in 2015.