Tatarstan Opens Up Trade Corridor With Iran

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Russia’s Tatarstan Republic is looking to increase trade with Iran via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), said Tatarstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Korobchenko Oleg Vladimirovich.

Speaking in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Vladimirovich announced the establishment of logistics centers in Tatarstan in order to increase trade with Iran through the INSTC and the Caspian Sea, and raised the proposal for the launch of direct flights between Tehran and Kazan to improve bilateral trade adding that Tatarstan will prepare all the necessary infrastructure. Flights currently have to route via Istanbul, a direct route would save both money and reduce the overall flying time by about 7 hours.

A high-ranking trade delegation from Tatarstan recently visited Iran to discuss collaboration in various fields including oil, gas, and petrochemicals, transportation and logistics, aviation, food and agriculture, health, cosmetics, auto, construction materials, investment, and entrepreneurship.

Tatarstan has strong Islamic roots and shares cultural similarities with Iran, Islam was introduced by missionaries from Baghdad around 922. It became part of Russia in the 1550’s under Ivan the Terrible’s rule. In the 19th century, Tatarstan became a center of Jadidism, an Islamic movement that preached tolerance of other religions. Under the influence of local Jadidist theologians, the region was renowned for their friendly relations with other peoples of the Russian Empire, and is still known for this liberal approach today. Although a Republic with its own seat of Government and a large degree of autonomy, Tatarstan remains part of the Russian Federation.

Most Tatars are Sunni Muslims, hence the ties with Iran. Tatarstan has a population of about 3.8 million. Trade with Iran would be conducted by shipping south along the Volga River or by rail to Russia’s Caspian Sea Ports at Astrakhan and Lagan, then shipped directly to Iran’s Anzali Port, also on the Caspian Sea.

Russia has a Free Trade Agreement with Iran via the Eurasian Economic Union. Bilateral trade rocketed 73% in H1 2022.

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