Speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko is currently in Tehran at the head of a delegation. Third in line to President Vladimir Putin in the Russian leadership, she is the guest of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani today.
hassan fathi: Iran, Russian relations have warmed during recent months and years. Tehran, Moscow have close political ties and become allies. The presence of Ivanovna in this context in Iran is significant. Are the two neighbours on the verge of breaking new ground? Both nations are facing increased terrorism in the region. Zealotry and religious extremism have been at the root of some of these gruesome acts. Unless the problem is tackled and confronted, radicalism will spread. Security in the Middle East and beyond is at stake.
US President Elect Donald Trump says that he wants to establish closer ties to Moscow. It could lead to greater focus of the two powers on terrorism, particularly in the Middle East. Yet bilateral Tehran, Moscow trade ties are overwhelmingly in favour of the latter. At one stage, Moscow broke off trade ties with Turkey when one of its fighter jets was shot down by Turkey over Syria. It was an opportunity for Iran to capitalize on exports to Russia but Tehran failed to act! Ankara is back in business with a vigorous plan of action to draw ever more Russian tourists to Anatolia, with corresponding successes in exports of commodities to Russia.
If high level talks with Russia concentrate primarily on political issues, the private sector in Iran and Free Trade Zones on our borders will not benefit. Russia needs foodstuffs, fruits and vegetables! We can supply them. Any such program would curb the ever growing migration from rural regions to Tehran. There is a good opportunity to create jobs, promote provincial industries and bring incentives for inward investment from the business community. Solid diplomatic ties are one thing, but we should move forward to promote trade, build the infra-structure on both sides for trade to prosper. The outlying region on the Caspian shoreline in Iran is a major agricultural belt with immense Economic potential – not to be neglected. At this time of high levels of Tehran, Moscow parlance, let’s hear a bit more about trade and Iranian exports to Russia.