Baku, Azerbaijan, March 14
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran and Russia have discussed ways to expand bilateral economic cooperation, IRIB reported on March 14.
In a meeting between Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow, the two sides agreed to sign an agreement to boost trade and economic ties.
Zanganeh arrived in Moscow late Thursday at the head of a delegation to hold talks with Russian officials.
During his daylong visit to Russia, he also met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
Attempts to promote economic cooperation with Iran, especially in the field of building new nuclear units in the Bushehr power plant, are a part of Russia's programs not to fall behind its western rivals in Iran's lucrative market.
In February, RIA Novosti reported that Russia's economy minister will visit Iran in April to discuss a broad range of trade issues.
"The trip will probably happen - it won't be in March but at the end of April," the minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, was quoted by state news agency RIA as saying.
Iran's Fars news agency reported on Feb. 9 citing Russian ambassador to Tehran Levan Jagarian, that Ulyukayev will visit the Islamic Republic on March 21 with a proposal to swap Iranian oil for construction of railways.
Reuters reported in mid-January that Russia and Iran are discussing a deal to swap about 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil for Russian goods and equipment, and plan to sign it soon.