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Experts: Russia more likely to gain from lifting sanctions on Iran

July 15, 2015, 18:13 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, July 15. /TASS/. An agreement reached on the Iranian nuclear program has big global and regional significance, Russian experts say. The lifting of sanctions on Iran will open new possibilities for Russia to develop trade and economic cooperation. Iran may eventually turn into Russia’s rival in hydrocarbon trade but this is unlikely to happen soon.

The main geopolitical consequence of the Iranian nuclear deal is that the positions of Iran as a regional Middle East country are strengthening and the Islamic Republic is expanding its resources for development and getting out of isolation, Presidium Chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy Fyodor Lukyanov told TASS.

"This will have very diverse consequences but it is obvious that Iran is getting to a new level," the expert said.

For Russia, this is an objective process "which it did not intend, could not and should not try to impede," the expert said.

Iran wanted to get out of isolation and it is getting out of it. There are both positive and negative consequences of this process for Russia. Specifically, world oil prices may fall, he added.

"However, it is important for Russia to see the development of Eurasia and implement a new policy in Eurasia, which is becoming a priority in international relations. In this context, Iran will play a very significant role. We need to offer Iran new possibilities as an important Eurasian power," Lukyanov said.

Iran had aspired for a long time to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Senior Researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences Dina Malysheva told TASS.

"Precisely the international sanctions were the main obstacle on this way. Now the road is opening and Iran’s accession to the SCO will give this organization a big political weight," the expert said.

The Iran nuclear deal undoubtedly has large global and regional significance, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Sazhin told TASS.

"Speaking globally, it [the deal] ensures the regime of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and its significance goes beyond the framework of the agreement with Iran. There are still a lot of threshold countries that have either started or are seeking to develop nuclear technologies. That is why, the experience of work with Iran can be useful for further challenges from such countries," the expert said.

Regionally, Iran will be excluded from the category of rogue states and will take up its appropriate place in the Middle East, the expert said.

"Now the balance in the Middle East between the four major players — Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran — will be more objective. Israel and Saudi Arabia are discontent with the signing of the agreement and tensions in the region may increase at the first stage of the existence of post-sanction Iran. But as the Iranian economy strengthens and it develops trade relations with other countries, the situation will stabilize," the expert said.

Even if Iran wants very much to create nuclear weapons, it has no chances for this, given that it complies with all the requirements sealed in the document, the expert said.

According to the expert, this would be disadvantageous for Iran all the same. "This is because the sanctions virtually crippled the Iranian economy and this was the main reason why Iran agreed to negotiate."

Commenting on the fears that the lifting of sanctions on Iran would make world oil prices plunge, the expert said that the situation should not be dramatized.

Iran has really large oil stocks today and sells oil mainly to China, India and South Korea. After the sanctions are lifted, which will begin in 2016, Iran may supply its stocks to the market and slightly bring world oil prices down.

"But Iran will need high technologies and large investments to reach the pre-sanction level of oil output. That is why, oil prices are not expected to fall sharply soon," the expert said.

"Of course, Iran may eventually become Russia’s rival and sell oil to Europe and then this practice may also spread to gas. But gas is a long-term prospect and this may occur no sooner than in 10 years," he added.

But the lifting of sanctions on Iran today promises big economic benefits for Russia as this will ensure closer bilateral cooperation in the spheres where Russia has good positions and competes with Western countries, Sazhin said.

First of all, this cooperation involves nuclear power engineering, thermal power generation and railway transport (rolling stock deliveries, the construction of new electricity transmission lines, railroad upgrade) and machine-building (Russia is ready to build an auto assembly plant for the production of heavy-duty trucks), and also agriculture and space exploration.

Military and technical cooperation between Russia and Iran has its special significance, the expert said.

"So far, the supplies of heavy offensive armaments will be prohibited in the next five years. But this does not mean that heavy defensive armaments, i.e. air defense systems can’t be supplied. There is a large group of military products that are not covered by the ban and Russia is preparing the ground for their supplies," the expert said.

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