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MOSCOW, March 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Iran and Russia should do their best to reach a new level in relationship, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei said on Monday.
“We’re convinced that Iran and Russia should open a new page in cooperation. It is impossible to plan long-term relations without strengthening economic cooperation,” the Iranian ambassador said at a conference devoted to Russian-Iranian relations.
“Unfortunately, despite the high potential economic relations between the two countries are decreasing. This runs counter the interests of both countries,” Sanaei said.
In 2012, trade turnover between Iran and Russia reached $2.33 billion. In 2013, trade amounted to $1.59 billion, he said.
The ambassador called for “drafting measures to improve the situation. Iran has many opportunities to work with Russian companies — from energy to the banking sector”.
He cited an example the construction of an oil refinery and the development of a gas field at South Pars, southern Iran. The ambassador said cooperation in car making and railways had big prospects.
“At present, cooperation between Russia and Iran presents special interest. Iran’s foreign policy is changing and Russia is facing new challenges,” deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vyacheslav Belokrenitsky said.
Sergei Druzhilovsky, professor of the Department of Oriental Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said the West’s sanctions hampered the development of Russian-Iranian relations.
“The election of a new president pins hopes. Russia seeks to develop cooperation with Iran,” he said.