Russia Sends Large Trade Delegation to Iran as Trade Ties Strengthen

A Russian trade delegation consisting of 250 Russian businessmen will visit Iran Monday and Tuesday, Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian has said, according to RFE/RL.

The minister’s statement comes at a time when Russia and Iran are forging closer economic ties amid Western sanctions aimed at the two countries.

Speaking at an economic conference in Isfahan on Sunday attended, among others, by Russia’s North Caucasia Minister, Ardakanian said that banking was a major topic in the economic cooperation talks between Iran and Russia.

He added that the two sides’ Central banks are currently furthering “intensive talks”.

Iranian media said some 60 people linked to private and public sector companies in Russia were present at the conference.

According to Russia’s Minister for North Caucasus Affairs Sergei Chebotarev, Russian-Iranian trade exceeded $1.7 billion in 2018, but the two countries have the potential to increase this indicator.

“In 2018, bilateral trade exceeded $1.7 billion, and it grew compared to 2017,” Chebotarev said in Tehran.

The minister noted that this volume was very modest adding that Russia and Iran had a “much higher potential” in this field. According to him, the two sides must do everything possible to achieve a new level in bilateral trade.

The two countries maintain close ties in hydrocarbons trade and work jointly on peaceful nuclear power projects in Iran. Earlier this week, Iran moved to create a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which Russia is part of.