Contemporary Russia-Iran Partnership: Prospects for Development

Date of publication : March 18, 2017 16:58 pm
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© RIAC

Date: March 14, 2017
Time: 15:30 to 17:30 (GMT +3:30)
Venue: International Media Center “Rossiya Segodnya”, Moscow, Russia / IRAS Conference Center, Tehran, Iran
 
 
Speakers:
Igor Ivanov, RIAC President, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation (1998 – 2004)
 
Mehdi Sanaei, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Russian Federation
 
Vladimir Sazhin, professor, senior researcher of the Institute of Oriental Studies (RAS)
 
Nina Mamedova, leading researcher, head of the Iranian Studies department of the Institute of Oriental Studies (RAS), associate professor at the Department of World Economy of the Moscow State University of Foreign Relations (MGIMO) and Higher School of Economics
 
Elena Dunaeva, senior researcher of the Iranian Studies Department of the Institute of Oriental Studies (RAS), associate professor of the Moscow State University of Foreign Relations (MGIMO)
 
Davood Kiani, first deputy director at the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies (IRAS), associate professor at Islamic Azad University
 
Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Head of the Center for International Research and Education (Known as Deputy for Education and Research) and President of Institute for Political & International Studies (IPIS)

Mahmoud Shoori, senior fellow at the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies (IRAS), head of Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), affiliated to Iran’s Expediency Council

Rasoul Mousavi, adviser to Head of the Center for International Research and Education


On March 14th 2017, the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) held a round table at the Media Center of “Rossiya Segodnya” on Russia-Iran relations, aiming at analyzing the present stage and the prospects for a further development. The event was attended by RIAC President and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation from 1998 to 2004 Igor Ivanov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Russia Mehdi Sanai and leading international experts from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute for Iran-Eurasian Studies (IRAS) and the Center for International Studies and Education under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran (IPIS).

The round table was opened by Igor Ivanov, he underlined the need for a systematic approach for the development of relations between Russia and Iran. The President of RIAC stated that the signature of a joint plan in July 2015 on the Iranian nuclear program offered new favorable opportunities for the development of a comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement that we have reached is the common heritage of the international community within the framework of the cooperation regarding the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Therefore, there is no need to call for possible revisions of the agreement, but to strive for their strict implementation by all the parties. Moreover, it is time to understand that using the language of ultimatums and sanctions is not the attitude one should adopt with one of the leading powers in Asia”, declared Igor Ivanov.

According to the President of RIAC, the positions adopted by Iran and Russia bring together a certain number of common security challenges, including NATO enlargement, the spread of terrorism, the threat of destabilization in Central Asia and South Caucasus as well as the unresolved internal political crisis in Afghanistan. On another hand, he underlined the productive cooperation of both countries on the Syrian crisis.

"Generally speaking, the positions of Russia and Iran may not fully coincide with the vision of the future of Syria and the Middle East. However, both parties have a clear understanding of how they do not want to region to turn into - plunged into chaos, torn apart by extremist groups with varying degrees of radicalism, uncontrollable and spreading destabilization and terror" added Igor Ivanov.

The Ambassador Mehdi Sanai announced the visit of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Moscow at the end of March and quoted that the upcoming meeting of the two leaders will be the ninth one during the past 3.5 years. Incidentally, the Ambassador stressed that Russia and Iran have made great strides in resolving the Syrian crisis and keep striving for stability and peace in the region. As the diplomat emphasized, previously the countries had already successfully contributed to the settlement of the armed conflict in Tajikistan.

"Regarding the regional agenda, both countries are struggling against instability in the Caucasus and in Eurasia, and we share a common position on Syria and Afghanistan. Furthermore, it attracts the attention of many other countries - in Syria, the efforts of Iran and Russia were successful and allowed to do what others could not. This is a fight against terrorist groups”, stated the Ambassador.

Mehdi Sanai also noted the successful development of trade and economic relations between Russia and Iran: "Economic relations between our countries are developing, naturally, the signature of basic agreements has created a solid ground for it. The last year`s increase in turnover (80%) demonstrates this. As the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iran to Russia, I really hope that we will maintain this rate of growth over the next few years and conclude an agreement of a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Union that would pave the way for increasing the commodity and economic ties between Tehran and Moscow ".

Elena Dunayeva, Senior researcher from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, senior lecturer from MGIMO under the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed her point of view regarding a potential signature of a free trade agreement between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), she believes that it would be beneficial for both Tehran and the member countries. She stressed that cooperation with Iran is extremely important in the context of potential co-development of Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road Economic Belt. Besides, Elena Dunayeva observed the prospects of mutual cooperation along the line of Russia, Iran and India.

In that positive vein, the prospects of the cooperation between Moscow and Tehran were also appreciated by Vladimir Sazhin (Senior Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and Nina Mamedova (Senior Researcher, Head of the Iranian Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, assistant professor at the MGIMO and at the Higher School of Economics). The latter noted that although Iran's share in Russian foreign trade is not high, the Iranian market still have a significant importance for Russia, especially in the context of manufactured goods trade.

Generally speaking, the Iranian experts who participated in the event through videoconference shared the optimism of their Russian colleagues about the future of the relations between the two countries. More particularly, Mohammad Kazem Sadjadpour (Head of the Center for International Studies and Education under the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IPIS), senior researcher of the Center for of Iran-Eurasian Studies), who expressed a positive opinion regarding the methods of cooperation developed in Syria by Russia and Iran that could actually help countries to develop relations with others. He stressed that Russia and Iran have opportunities that other states do not have, this is why their cooperation should be independent from the influence of third countries.

At the end of the roundtable, Mehdi Sanai stated that there has never been such a favorable period in the relations between Russia and Iran. "It is difficult to say whether relations between our countries are strategic or not, but the pace of interaction is definitely growing," said the Ambassador.

Within the framework of the roundtable, the joint report "Partnership between Russia and Iran: Current State and Prospects of Development" was presented. It was prepared by IRAS in partnership with RIAC. The publication deals with the development of a strategic partnership between Russia, Iran, the Middle-East and Central Asia; security issues; cooperation between Russia, Iran, the Middle-East, Central Asia and Afghanistan, as well as opportunities and prospects for economic cooperation.

To watch the event, click here.
 
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