Iran-Russia economic cooperation meeting

The Iranian ambassador to Moscow said the eighth conference of the mutual committee for economic cooperation between Iran and Russia will be held after one year delay on November 30 and December 1.

Seyyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi said Russia's Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko who is the Russian head of the joint economic committee will visit Tehran to hold talks with Iranian officials, IRNA news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow predicted Tehran-Moscow trade will increase and next year it will reach $5 billion.

He added that when banking cooperation between the two countries starts the prerequisite will be provided to trade with rials and roubles.

Sajjadi pointed out that the current trade level between the two countries is $3.5 billion.

"Our duty is to manage the situation and not allow strategic profits of the two countries be affected by short-lived passions and psychological wars and heated propaganda disseminated by Western media in their ill-founded efforts," he warned.

The two countries signed a treaty in Tehran in January 2008 agreeing to cooperate in developing some of Iran's vast oil and natural gas reserves.

In January 2009, Tehran and Moscow signed an agreement to trade natural gas in order to increase their export efficiency and increase profits. Shmatko announced in July 2009 that Russia is eager to help Iran with the development of oil and gas fields in the Islamic Republic.

Beyond their trade and cooperation in hydrocarbons, Iran and Russia have also expanded trade ties in many non-energy sectors of the economy, including a large agriculture agreement in January 2009 and a telecommunications contract in December 2008.

Bilateral trade between the two countries totaled over $3 billion in 2007, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Reflecting Russia's growing economic relationship with Iran, the Russian minister of agriculture called Iran a "strategic partner" of Russia after the two signed the agricultural agreement in Moscow in January 2009.

Russian involvement in the Iranian telecommunication market continued to expand in August 2009, when Russia's third largest mobile phone operator, Megafon, pledged to invest more than $4.5 billion to expand coverage in the Islamic Republic.

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