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Iran welcomes Russian investors as oil minister ends Moscow visit

Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has called Russia a “strategic partner” during a visit to Moscow and invited Russian companies to invest in the Islamic Republic.

“We welcome the investment of Russian companies in the required sectors of the oil industry” in Iran, Zanganeh said after meeting Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and new Energy Minister Nicolai Shulginov Monday.

Novak said a broad range of trade and economic cooperation matters is "successfully explored between our countries”.

“Although this year has become a tough challenge for the whole global community, economic relations between Russia and Iran do not lose prior dynamics but become more active and meaningful instead," he said.

Iran and Russia have turned to close allies in recent years, especially through cooperation in Syria to weed out foreign-backed takfiri terrorism which has put many parts of the Arab country to ruin.

However, their drawn-out plan to hammer out a deal for Russia to provide goods to Iran in exchange for Iranian oil has never seen the light of the day. This has gone against the grain of their “political will” to use Western sanctions on both countries as an opportunity to expand trade ties and increase cooperation.

When Novak visited Iran in June 2019 with a delegation of 120 businesspeople, including representatives of private and public companies, the two sides said they had signed a dozen cooperation agreements covering energy, railway, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and tourism.

The visit came after officials said Iran had presented as many as 12 projects in the petroleum sector to Russia’s Gazprom, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Zarubezhneft, Taftneft and Lukoil for development.

It followed President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia was prepared to invest in Iran’s oil sector to the tune of $50 billion in the face of US plans to reimpose sanctions on the Iranian oil and gas sector. Unlike their political relations, however, trade between Iran and Russia has thus far moved in slow lane.

While observers watched Zanganeh’s latest visit with interest, it was not immediately known what was in store after the meetings, but Shana cited him as indicating that some agreements had been reached.

Russia’s Tass news agency only said Novak discussed key issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the oil sphere with Zanganeh, stating that relations in the energy sector are also “developing successfully at present”.

Russia has signed an agreement with Iran to implement the second and third units of the Bushehr nuclear power plant after bringing the first facility online in 2011.

Zanganeh said Tehran and Moscow will increase cooperation in the energy sector to offset the impact of sanctions.

“We see Russia as a strategic partner and this partnership will not change with the warm and cold atmosphere in the international arena,” the veteran Iranian minister said.

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, he said, has good cooperation with Russian companies, adding this cooperation in the field of oil, gas and manufacturing of equipment is to continue.

For operation in Iran, however, Russian manufacturers of oil and gas equipment must invest according to the law of maximum use of domestic capabilities.

“They must partner with Iranian companies and negotiate with their Iranian counterparts to achieve results,” Zanganeh said.

The Iranian ambassador to Russia and his colleagues at the embassy are about to follow up on the agreements, he added without elaboration.

Zanganeh was accompanied by his deputy and Iran’s governor to OPEC Amir Hossein Zamaninia. The minister said one of the topics discussed in his meetings was the global oil market.

Russia, he said, has played a key role in stabilizing the global oil market in recent years. It has cooperated closely with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to curb production and support prices on the platform of what has become known as the OPEC+.

In his meeting with the Russians, Zanganeh said, they talked about their “serious cooperation” within the OPEC+ framework, adding their views were close.

Source: Press TV

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