TEHRAN, April 18 /TASS/. Russia and Iran face common threats linked to Islam’s radicalization and extremism. Their mutual experience could be useful for building systemic work on counteraction to these phenomena, Igor Barinov, the head of the Russian Federal Agency for the Affairs of Nationalities, told TASS on Monday after talks with Ali Younesi, the Iranian president’s adviser for minorities’ affairs.
"Russia and Iran, which are multi-ethnic and multi-confessional countries, are facing the same challenges and threats. One of the main tasks they are facing today is to counteract extremism and prevent Islam from growing radical. In this respect, Iran has accumulated vast experience, which can be used to build systemic work in Russia," the head of the Federal Agency for the Affairs of Nationalities said.
"Today, we agreed to hold a socio-economic forum in the spring of 2017. It is most likely to take place in Ufa, the Urals," Barinov said. "We can use economic levers and seek results in reaching inter-ethnic peace and accord," he stressed. "Our agency can also be a kind of link between Iran and Russian regions such as North Caucasus and the Volga region," Barinov went on to say. According to him, the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran opens up additional opportunities for bilateral cooperation."
During the talks, the sides agreed to create a department for the study of Persian language; Iranian culture and traditions on the basis of the Moscow Islamic University as well as to convene a Russian-Iranian theological conference in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, which is compactly inhabited by Shia Muslims. The majority of Iranians are also the followers of this branch of Islam. According to Barinov, Dagestan is on the forefront of efforts to stop the penetration of radical ideas into our country.
"The Islamic Republic understands: if extremist ideas penetrate into Russia via North Caucasus, that is going to affect Iran sooner or later," Barinov stressed.