Hassan Rouhani & Vladimir Putin

Tehran, Moscow come closer to each other

IRNA – The relationship between Tehran and Moscow has gained momentum under presidency of Hassan Rouhani to an extent that the presidents of both countries have met with each other 11 times over the past four years besides talking over phone on several occasions.

Over the past year, President Hassan Rouhani and President Vladimir Putin met each other three times which has been unprecedented in the history of bilateral ties.

The first meeting between the two presidents took place on March 27-28, 2017 with an official visit to Moscow by the Iranian president during which 14 documents on bilateral cooperation were signed including agreements on visa waiver for tourists visiting the two countries in groups, extradition of convicts, electrifying Tehran-Garmsar-Inche Boroun railway and a number of economic and legal protocols.
With the reelection of Rouhani as the President of the Islamic Republic for the second term in office in the 12th presidential elections, grounds were prepared for further expansion of Tehran-Mocow ties.

Rouhani and Putin met for the second time during a visit to Tehran of the Russian president to take part in a tripartite summit of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia in October 2017.

The third meeting between the Iranian and Russian presidents dates back to November 22, 2017 when Rouhani traveled to Russian resort of Sochi for a tripartite meeting of Iran, Russia and Turkey to find a solution to Syrian crisis in post-Daesh era.

Over the past five years, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov have met each other 22 times besides consultations held between the two countries at the levels of deputy ministers and directors general.

Expansion of parliamentary relations

Parliament speakers of both countries and their Members of Parliaments held several meetings in the past Iranian year. In October, Iranian Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani traveled to Saint Petersburg to participate in a meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Union. During his stay in Moscow, Larijani held talks with his Russian counterparts.

The latest development in Iran-Russia parliamentary ties is related to a visit to Moscow by Head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi in March 2018. He led a delegation of Iranian MPs in his visit that took place at the invitation of the speaker of the Russian State Duma.

Expansion of legal and judicial relations

There is close cooperation between the Judiciary and justice ministries of both countries. Recently, officials from the Russian justice ministry traveled to Tehran to finalize an agreement on extradition of convicts and a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between prosecutors general of both countries.

Expansion of economic relations

Economic cooperation between Iran and Russia which had been on the decline before Rouhani took office in his first term came to a standstill during the post-JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) era but began to grow particularly in the past Iranian year.

In March 2018, Iranian Minister of Economy and Financial Affairs Masoud Karbasian and Russian Minister of Economic Development Maksim Oreshkin inked a cooperation document at the end of the 14th session of Iran-Russia joint economic cooperation commission in Moscow.

The document included agreements on cooperation between the working groups of Russian Energy Ministry and Ministry of Petroleum of Iran on India-Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, cooperation in the field of geology, financing and investing in industrial and mining projects in Iran and development of maritime resources of the Caspian Sea.

Memoranda of understanding on joint investments in thermal electricity projects, cooperation in cultural and transportation fields and a tripartite agreement among Iran, Russia and Kazakhstan were among other achievements of the 14th joint commission meeting.

Upon arrival in Moscow, Karbasian said the aim of the Iranian delegation’s visit to Moscow was to finalize Iran’s membership in Eurasian Economic Union. A few days after the Iranian delegation returned home Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak announced that Iran would join other members of EEU in May 2018.

According to official statistics, in the first quarter of 2017, Iran’s exports to Russia increased by 20.29 percent while its imports in the same period declined by 9.44 percent compared to the similar period in 2016.