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Iran expresses readiness to establish a new corridor for the export of Russian grain

by Sputnik Globe

Iran stands ready to help Russia export its grain supplies by creating a new transport corridor, Deputy Economy Minister Seyed Ali Rouhani has said.

“Iran can not only import grain from Russia to meet its own needs, but also provide its territory as a corridor for the export of Russian grain to third countries. The Russian side can count on Iran as a reliable and long-term partner,” Rouhani told Sputnik in an interview.

Saying efforts in this area have been going “a little slowly” so far, Rouhani stressed that cooperation in this direction would be “the path of long-term partnership” between the two BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization partners.
Diplomatic, economic and strategic relations between Russia and Iran have surged dramatically in recent years, with the two countries currently putting the finishing touches on a new strategic cooperation agreement. Moscow and Tehran have also made a series of moves in recent months to take relations to the next level, including through a commitment to expand bilateral military ties, the ramping up of trade, new visa-free travel arrangements, banking cooperation, and an ambitious initiative known as the International North-South Transport Corridor – a 7,200 km long trade route to connect Russia and India via Iran.
Trade between Russia and Iran has surged following the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, jumping by roughly 20 percent in 2022, and nearly doubling in the first half of 2023, with the two countries setting an ambitious roadmap to increasing trade to some $40 billion in the coming years.
Iran became the third largest global buyer of Russian wheat in September, with the Islamic Republic purchasing some 490,000 tons, behind only Egypt (780,000 tons) and Turkiye (616,000 tons).
Along with grain and other foodstuffs (with Iran being a major exporter of high quality fruits and vegetables to Russia), the bump in trade has been accompanied by a major uptick in the purchase and sale of industrial goods and components (including car parts, polystyrene, machine tools, etc.), metals, animal feeds, products for use in the chemical industry, etc.
Russian-Iranian economic cooperation has played a positive role in cushioning the blow of Western sanctions.
In his interview with Sputnik, Rouhani stressed that Iran has “observed Russia’s anti-sanctions policy” carefully, and praised Russia’s “very successful experience” in disarming the restrictions.
“Predictions, especially Western ones, assumed that much more damage would be done to the Russian economy from the financial and banking sector, and the measures taken by the Russian Central Bank have become quite effective…Russia’s experience in the fight against sanctions is a valuable and successful one,” the official said.
Rouhani stressed that Russia’s decision to sell natural resources using rubles helped “reduce the damage that sanctions could cause to the Russian economy, especially in the banking and foreign exchange sector,” and said the Iranian Economy Ministry has discussed Russia’s experience in its internal deliberations.
Iran became one of six nations invited to join the BRICS bloc in August, more than doubling its size and further increasing its economic power vis-a-vis the US-led G7 bloc of wealthy industrialized Western nations.
Rouhani emphasized that Iran would do its part to help guarantee BRICS countries’ energy security, and help connect Russia with India, China, and Africa to improve inter-bloc economic and trade ties.
“Iran’s position as a geographical and transport corridor will ensure interaction between the BRICS countries, since Iran is on the path of China to Africa and Russia to India, and this could be very useful for the development of trade relations between these countries,” the official said.
Rouhani also expressed support for the idea of creating a single currency for use by the BRICS countries, as well as other currency agreements among bloc members.
“If we’re talking about a single currency like the euro, for example, this would require very serious infrastructure and platforms in the banking and budgetary sectors. Therefore, I think that now we need to plan for a wider use of bilateral and multilateral currency agreements between the BRICS member countries,” Rouhani said.
Sputnik Globe
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