Russia And Iran To Sign 20 Year Cooperation Deal

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By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

A combination of Chinese and Russian infrastructure development will help replace decaying assets due to the countries sanctions problems and ensure that Iran’s huge mineral oil and gas assets – it owns 12% of global reserves – continue to supply Central Asia and China. 

Tehran and Moscow are about to complete their work on a 20-year agreement on comprehensive cooperation, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday.

“We have established a new Foreign Ministry program, a roadmap to conclude 20-year agreements with our neighboring countries. The process is almost over with Russia” the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) quoted him as saying.

Khatibzadeh added that the document was similar to Iran’s 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement with China, signed off in March this year.

The draft of that Agreement included around 100 Belt and Road Initiative projects such as major transport infrastructure like airports, high-speed railways, and subways. Some of the most important provisions in the China-Iran Agreement are listed below.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin last month that Iran was ready to conclude a long-term agreement on comprehensive cooperation with Russia. The Treaty on the Basis for Mutual Relations and Principles of Cooperation between Russia and Iran, signed in March 2001, has been automatically extended every five years. On September 24, 2020, then Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to Moscow that before extending the document once again, Tehran would like to consider the possibility of updating it. That now appears likely to be the case.

Iran recently became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and is a key player in regional trade and security. Its energy and military assets will be needed in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Iran also has a renewed Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union which also includes Armenia, and with whom trade relations in particular are quickly progressing.

Despite significant US sanctions against it, Iran’s GDP is US$490 billion, similar in size to Belgium and Thailand. GDP per capita is about US$2,300 amongst a population of 84 million. A combination of Chinese and Russian infrastructure development will help replace decaying assets due to the countries sanctions problems and ensure that Iran’s huge mineral oil and gas assets – it owns 12% of global reserves – flow east instead of west. Iran is a key part of the multimodal International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) with its ports at Chabahar on the Arabian Gulf and Anzali on the Caspian Sea, through which products can be shipped to and from Russian and Iranian markets.

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