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Moscow, Tehran to sign deal on 2.2 bln euro credit for Iran

Russia and Iran have increased trade turnover by 80% in 2016, according to Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak

TEHRAN, December 13. /TASS/. Eight documents on cooperation between Russia and Iran were signed today at a meeting of the Permanent Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission on trade-economic cooperation held in Tehran.

In particular, the parties signed roadmap on trade and industrial cooperation, memorandum of understanding between the National Iranian Gas Company and Gazprom, memorandum of understanding between EXIAR and Iranian banks Parsiyan and Pasargad, two agreements on providing loans to Iran for the construction of thermal power plants and the electrification of the railway.

Russia’s Energy Minister and co-chair of the intergovernmental Russian-Iranian commission on trade and economic cooperation Alexander Novak said at the meeting of the commission earlier on Tuesday that Russia and Iran will sign an agreement on two credits for Iran worth 2.2 bln euro.

"Today those two (credit) agreements will be signed - on heat and power plant construction and electrification of railways," he said.

Five-year road map

The five-year road map on industrial expansion between Russia and Iran implies more than 70 projects, according to Novak.

"The signing of the road map in the industrial area between our industry ministries may be called a breakthrough," he said, adding that it includes "more than 70 particular projects in the area of industry, machine building, high-tech supplies," he said.

Trade turnover

Russia and Iran have increased trade turnover by 80% in 2016, Novak said.

"We were able to increase turnover by almost 80% against last year," he said.

Increase of financial payments

The amount of financial payments between Russia and Iran has trippled in 2016, according to Novak.

"The return to normal bank payments is going to become a powerful trigger. This year the amount of financial payments has tripled," he said.

Russian-Iranian Islamic bank

Novak said Russia and Iran are exploring the possibility of creating a Russian-Iranian Islamic bank.

"The creation of a Russian-Iranian Islamic bank was discussed. Our banks are exploring the mechanism, the related decision has not been made yet," he said.

As TASS reported earlier, in September Russia and Iran negotiated the expansion of cooperation in the banking sector. Particularly, the issues of establishing correspondent relations and opening bilateral correspondent accounts by credit organizations of both countries, the expansion of payments in national currencies, as well as cooperation in the area of tackling money laundering and terrorism financing were discussed.

Agreements in oil and gas sector

The total amount of agreements between Russia and Iran in the oil and gas sector may reach $10 bln, Iranian Minister of Communications Mahmoud Vaezi said at the meeting of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission.

According to the Minister, the oil and gas agreements have to be finalized, but it is already clear that they will boost the trade turnover between the countries. "My projection is that we can reach $10 bln," he said.

Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft is interested in the cooperation with Iranian oil companies in projects to develop big oil and gas onshore and offshore fields in Iran with proven resource base, according to the protocol on the intergovernmental Russian-Iranian commission.

"The sides highlighted Rosneft’s interest in the mutually beneficial cooperation with Iranian oil companies in projects to develop big oil and gas fields in Iran’s onshore and offshore areas with proven resources base, as well as in joining geological-prospecting blocks after studying their geological structure and resource potential," the document said.

More fields for Russia

Iran has offered the biggest number of fields to Russia compared with other countries, Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs and Trading Amir-Hossein Zamaninia said at the plenary session of the intergovernmental Russian-Iranian commission.

"Judging by the agreements we have signed with Russian companies over the past several months, we offered the biggest number of fields for development to Russian companies compared with other countries," he said.

The amount of investments made by Russian oil-producing companies in Iranian fields may reach tens of billions of dollars, Zamaninia told TASS on the sidelines of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission.

"If they all (current agreements with Russian companies - TASS) get to the contract signing, this will be tens of billions of dollars," he said when asked a respective question.

Free trade zone between Iran and EAEU

The agreement on creation of a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) may be completed on December 26, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

"Heads of states plan to take respective decisions at the meeting of the EAEU supreme council planned for December 26," he said.

Meanwhile, according to Iranian Minister of Communication Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran hopes to sign the agreement on creation of a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union in 2017. "We hope that in 2017 Iran and the EAEU will sign a free trade zone agreement," he said.

As was reported earlier the free trade zone agreement with Iran will be implemented in several stages. The fact that Iran is not a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) complicates the issue of creation a free trade zone.

Meeting of intergovernmental Russian-Iranian commission

The meeting of the commission on trade and economic cooperation in Tehran is headed by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Iranian Minister of Communication Mahmoud Vaezi.

The final session was preceded by intensive expert consultations on cooperation in different spheres - energy, including nuclear energy, oil and gas production, transport, space exploration, machine building, medical industry, financial and banking spheres. The sides also discussed inter-regional cooperation, tourism, environmental protection and many other spheres.

The Russian delegation at the session includes over 200 representatives of ministries and agencies, leading corporations and companies. Among them are representatives of Roscosmos, Rostec, Gazpron, Zarubezhneft, Lukoil, Tatneft, RZD, Russian Helicopters and others.