Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev (L-R back) give a joint news conference following their trilateral talks
An important point that the Russian President's recent visit to Tehran reminds is the fact that the Middle East and Eurasian regional cooperation has been added to the international and bilateral dimensions between Iran and Russia which existed in the past and were significantly expanded and deepened over the past three years.
From the previous visit of the Russian President to Tehran in December 2015 and visits with the Supreme Leader and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, tangible and significant results are observable in terms of the fight against terrorism and the establishment of peace and stability in the Middle East. This achievement stems from the joint strategic approaches of Iran and Russia and the real recognition of the mutual capacities of the two sides and their interconnection.
In addition to the north-south corridor, which is a strategic economic plan, linking a vest area stretching from the Indian subcontinent and the Persian Gulf to the northern Russia and Eastern and Central Europe through Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, the Presidents of three countries joined again in less than a year. This plan, which has long-term benefits for the regional countries, has become closer to reality and operational more than ever.
Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia would hopefully, with the help of India, convert the northern and southern corridor into one of their main priorities in the field of transit and energy and develop a joint and permanent team and program for the complete and sustained operation of this corridor and cargo handling due to the numerous advantages over other routes.
In addition to reviewing the ongoing cooperation projects between Iran and Russia, the meetings and talks between the presidents are expected to lead to giant steps in cooperation between Iran and Russia in energy, the presence and investment of large Russian companies in Iranian oil and gas fields, and Iran's cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Along with the expansion of political, security, cultural and academic exchanges, constant meetings between the Iranian and Russian economies are aimed at increasing the exchanges to an acceptable level proportional to the capacities.
The growth of nearly 40% of exports from Iran to Russia in the first half of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2016 shows that despite all the shortcomings, Iran's manufacturing capacities are becoming more familiar with the northern markets.
Planning for export-oriented production, establishing a supply network, strengthening export terminals, structuring to transform Iran into a hub of transit of Russian grains to global markets, and preparing the ground for tourism development to attract almost three million Russian tourists traveling for cultural and historical purposes are among the measures which need to be taken into account in Iran in order to take advantage of the opportunities.
© Hamshahri Daily
H.E. Mehdi Sanaei, a distinguished expert at IRAS, is the I.R. Iran's ambassador to the Russian Federation.
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