Iran’s agriculture minister embarks on visit to Moscow

Tehran, Iran, Oct. 7

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

Iran's Agricultural Jihad Minister Mahmoud Hojjati left Tehran for Moscow on Oct. 7.

The visit aims at discussing agricultural product's exports from Tehran to Moscow, Iranian ISNA news agency reported Oct. 7.

Hojjati is heading a delegation consisting of high-ranking officials and private sector representatives.

The Iranian minister will hold a meeting with his Russian counterpart during the visit.

Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Jagarian said Oct. 6 that Russia needs lots of fruits and meat, and Iran can enter the market.

"A new chapter has been opened in Iran-Russia relations and we have to take advantage of this opportunity," he added.

During an official visit to Tehran by a high-ranking Russian delegation, the country officially requested Iran to increase its agricultural exports to Moscow in order to meet the country's domestic demands.

Head of Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce Assadollah Asgaroladi said Sept. 30 that the chamber is studying a plan to replace the two country's national currencies - rial and ruble - for their bilateral trades.

"A Russian bank is supposed to establish a branch in Tehran, transferring the money to businessmen at the exchange rate of free market," he explained, according to Iranian news agency Mehr.

"The bank will transfer the money in 3 or 5 days," he said.

Asgaroladi went on to note that the Central Bank of Iran will announce its stance on the plan in two months.

"Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Moscow will also help to transfer money between the two countries' businessmen," he noted.

Tehran and Moscow plan to launch a joint bank in the near future.

Head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce Yahya Al-e Es'haq said Sept. 22 that the bank will facilitate money transfers, ISNA reported.

"The Iranian and Russian businessmen can use the local currencies in the short term, until a joint bank starts its work," the official noted.

"The western sanctions imposed on Russia have created a great opportunity for Iranian goods to enter Russian market," he said.

"The Russians have informed us about the items they need to import," Al-e Es'haq explained.

Iran and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on Sept. 9.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak signed the document at the end of the 11th meeting of Iran-Russia Joint Cooperation Commission.

The document includes bilateral cooperation in different fields such as industrial, mineral, trade, agricultural, tourism, technology, energy sectors and border issues.

The two sides also agreed to do their bank transactions by national currencies.

"Iran's and Russia's trade value currently stands at $1.5 billion but the figure will rise ten times in the next two years," Zanganeh said.

Novak previously said the US-generated sanctions will not affect the two countries bilateral relations.

Russian energy minister said Sept. 10 that Moscow is ready to carry out 70 billion euros worth projects in Iran.

"Russia can help Iran to construct new railroads," he said expressing his country's willingness to take part in electrification project of the railroads, the Tasnim news agency reported Sept. 10.
"Investing in Iran's oil and gas sector is interesting for Russian companies," Novak said.

He went on to note that the two countries' presidents will hold a meeting in the near future to discuss issues of mutual interest.

"We seek to open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation," he concluded.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Sept. 6 that Iran sees no limits to expand economic ties with Russia.

"The two sides will explore ways to expand economic ties, particularly in agriculture, transportation, mining, energy, and technology transfer," the Shana news agency quoted Zanganeh as saying.

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