Russian trade with Iran up 80 percent

Russian trade with Iran up 80 percent
Year on year trade between Russia and Iran has risen significantly, up by 80 percent according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

Novak is the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Russian-Iranian Commission on trade and economic cooperation and is in Tehran with a delegation of over 200 Russian officials.

He met Iranian Minister of Communication Mahmoud Vaezi to talk about the possibility of Tehran signing a free trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union next year.

The sides signed agreements to construct a heat and power plant, and railway electrification worth €2.2 billion.

Last year, the two countries agreed to develop economic ties, with Moscow promising to provide a $5 billion state loan to Tehran to promote industrial cooperation. The money is expected to spur trade from the current $2 billion to a target of $10 billion.

According to Novak, the money flowing between Russia and Iran tripled in 2016. "The return to normal bank payments is going to become a powerful trigger. This year the amount of financial payments has tripled," he said.

Vaezi said he expects energy agreements will be signed worth $10 billion which will also improve Russia-Iran trade.

"Judging by the agreements we have signed with Russian companies over the past several months, we offered the biggest number of fields for development to Russian companies compared with other countries,” said Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs and Trading Amir-Hossein Zamaninia.

Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Company to develop two oil fields in Iran, Novak said.