Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 230

Iranian and Russian trade officials on December 5 announced the signing of a broad-ranging protocol aimed at boosting bilateral economic relations. The agreement, which calls for Tehran to purchase tens of millions of dollars worth of Russian subway cars and technical equipment, came during a meeting in Moscow of the Russian-Iranian Commission for Economic Cooperation. It was the first time that the commission has met since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. According to Russian foreign trade minister Oleg Davydov, the agreement will involve a wide variety of industries, including oil and gas, as well as air, land, and sea transport. The two sides also reaffirmed their intention to complete construction of Iran’s $800 million Bushehr nuclear power plant, a project that the U.S. has vigorously opposed. Davydov projected that trade turnover between Iran and Russia could rise from the $200 million recorded in 1995 to some $4 billion by the year 2000. (Reuter, Itar-Tass, Interfax, December 5)

The pattern of Russian-Iranian cooperation continued on December 6, when the head of Russia’s Ministry for Emergency Situations said during a visit to Tehran that the Iranians could become major purchasers of Russian-made rescue machinery and equipment, including helicopters. Sergei Shoigu also spoke of broader interaction between his ministry and its counterparts in Iran. The Russian delegation brought with it 2.5 tons of humanitarian supplies, reportedly to be turned over to the children of Iraqi refugees currently in Iran. (Itar-Tass, December 6)

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