Saturday, March 15, 2014

Iran: Oil Min - MOU on broader cooperation with Russia to be finalized soon

Source: IRNA

Iranian oil Minister Bizhan Namdar-Zangeneh said here Friday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on broader Tehran-Moscow cooperation will be finalized within a fortnight from now.

Zangeneh who was speaking at the end of his two-day visit of Russia at the top of an Iranian delegation to discuss the details of the MOU told IRNA that his visit of Moscow and talks with the Russian officials he was in the position of the head of the Iranian cooperation commission, rather than the oil minister.

ˈI held talks with the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak as the head of the Russian cooperation commission,ˈ he added.

The Iranian minister said that the government is determined to get engaged in long term cooperation with Russia and to boost the bilateral trade volume accordingly.

ˈPresently the Iran-Russia trade volume is at an unacceptable low volume,ˈ said Zangeneh,, referring to the two countries $1.5 billion annual trade volume.

He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to expand cooperation with Russia, especially in technical and technological fields, as well as provision of goods and services for both sides.

He said that if that major objective would be achieved the countryˈs imports and exports with Russia will increase drastically.

Zangeneh said that in order to reach an acceptable level of bilateral trade in exports and imports he has had consultations with various Russian officials, including the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

ˈWe are preparing the draft for an MOU as a result of such consultations,ˈ he said, adding that a broad spectrum of issues of mutual interest have been discussed in those meetings, including removing the obstacles and difficulties in the way of further expansion of ties.

He said that among the members of the Iranian cooperation commission, there were the deputy Iranian Central Bank governor and the deputy industries minister, who each met and conferred with their Russian counterparts on ways for materializing the objective.

The oil minister said that the progress achieved during the course of the past two days was quite satisfactory and therefore the bilateral cooperation MOU is expected to be finalized within a fortnight from now, towards the beginning of the next Iranian New Year, 1393, which begins on March, 20.

The Iranian oil minister expressed hope that the two countriesˈ economic and business relations will experience an eye-catching increase as a result of that MOU soon.

Bizhan Namdar Zangeneh arrived in Moscow at the top of the Iranian commission for cooperation with Russia on Thursday afternoon.

This was Zangenehˈs second visit of Russia during President Hassan Rouhaniˈs tenure.

The experts believe the 1.5 billion US dollar trade volume of Iran-Russia do not match the high level political relations of the two regional countries.

They refer to the high potentials of the two neighboring countries, assuming that relying on a little dynamism on both ends the Iran-Russia trade volume can soon be almost 15-folded to at least 20 billion US dollars a year.

Attempts to promote economic cooperation with Iran, especially in the field of building new nuclear units in the Bushehr power plant, are a part of Russiaˈs programs not to fall behind its western rivals in Iranˈs lucrative market.

In February, RIA Novosti reported that Russiaˈs economy minister will visit Iran in April to discuss a broad range of trade issues.

ˈThe trip will probably happen - it wonˈt be in March but at the end of April,ˈ the minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, was quoted by state news agency RIA as saying.

The Russian ambassador to Tehran Levan Jagarian had told the press that Ulyukayev will visit the Islamic Republic on March 21 with a proposal to swap Iranian oil for construction of railways.

Reuters reported in mid-Jan. that Russia and Iran are discussing a deal to swap about 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil for Russian goods and equipment, and plan to sign it soon.