Russia, Iran Forge Strong Ties Despite Western Sanctions, Envoy Says
Alexey Dedov, Russia’s ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, emphasized the importance of the growing trade relationship between Russia and Iran in the face of Western sanctions.
In an interview with Sputnik, Dedov noted that the two countries have enjoyed constructive and cordial relations, with a strategic character emerging in recent years.
Regular contacts have been maintained at all levels, including three conversations between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Ebrahim Raisi of Iran in the first quarter of 2023, he said.
Dedov also discussed the Aktau convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea and expressed hope that Iran will soon ratify the 2018 agreement.
The Russian ambassador emphasized the significance of the “International North-South Transport Corridor” project, particularly the completion of a 160-kilometer railway section from Astara to Rasht in Iran.
This will allow the uninterrupted transportation of goods between the port of Ust-Luga in Russia and the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
The ambassador described Russia-Iran trade as growing dynamically, with turnover reaching nearly $5 billion in 2022, and both countries aspiring to reach $40 billion in trade turnover.
The joint intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation between Iran and Russia is expected to play a leading role in further developing their trade potential, he stated.
Dedov highlighted the close relationships that extend beyond simple commodity trading to include tourism and friendly soccer matches, with 78 Russian federal subjects engaging in trade with Iran.
Russia’s ambassador to Tehran also spoke about the fruitful cooperation between Russia and Iran in the field of nuclear power.
Russia’s Atomstroyexport assisted in the completion and maintenance of the Bushehr nuclear power station during the JCPOA nuclear deal. Dedov noted the successful launch of the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and ongoing maintenance as an example of the successful cooperation between Russia’s state corporation Rosatom and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
He also highlighted the construction of the second and third units of the nuclear power plant, which is being carried out in accordance with the agreed schedule. Dedov emphasized that the key to successful cooperation in this area is the strict observance of contractual obligations by both parties.
Despite the success of the cooperation, the US has unilaterally imposed sanctions against Iran based on unproven claims of Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Russia and other JCPOA signatories have continued to observe the deal, except where US sanctions have intimidated them into halting.
Dedov commented on the impact of US sanctions on Iran, noting that Iran has been under sanctions for more than 40 years, yet it has not prevented the country from realizing its economic potential and building facilities.
He also quipped that Russia has become the “champion” of sanctions over Iran because the West has imposed more sanctions on Moscow than on Tehran.
Despite the US imposing more economic sanctions on Russia, Dedov believes that this will not significantly affect the cooperation between Russia and Iran in the nuclear sphere.