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MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Russia is forestalling competition on the Iranian market after the sanctions against Teheran are lifted and is building up its military, trade and economic cooperation with the Islamic Republic as a partner in the anti-terror coalition, experts polled by TASS say.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave instructions on December 21 to set up a study group for establishing a free trade area between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran. At the same time, the Eurasian Economic Commission, which is the EAEU’s executive body, has decided to accelerate the consideration of the issue of reducing import duties on agricultural produce from Iran.
Putin said during his visit to Iran in late November that the sides would intensify industrial cooperation, for which Russia was ready to disburse a $5 billion government export loan. Russia and Iran have selected 35 priority projects for cooperation in power engineering, construction, sea terminals and railroads. Russia will also help Iran change the specialty of its nuclear facilities to make products for scientific purposes.
A source in the system of military and technical cooperation told TASS on Friday that Russia would start the deliveries of S-300PMU-2 air defense missile systems to Iran in January 2016 under a contract signed earlier. About 80 Iranian specialists will be trained at training centers of Russia’s Mozhaisky Military Space Academy to operate these systems.
As the anti-Tehran sanctions are lifted by the United States, the European Union and the UN Security Council following an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, Iran will turn into a leader of both the Middle East and the entire Islamic civilization and change the Mideast geopolitical situation, said Alexei Podberyozkin, director of the Center of Military and Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
"Iran has the fourth largest economy in the Islamic world by the size of GDP, is one of the most technologically developed states in the region and has large oil and natural gas reserves. It is completely obvious that rivalry among Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia for leadership in the Middle East and the Islamic world will intensify further in the imminent future. Growing cooperation with Russia will strengthen Tehran’s positions," Podberyozkin told TASS.
Tehran’s rising role evokes ever greater attention from Washington and Western countries, the expert said.
"Italian, Austrian, German and British investors are lining up in Tehran. They will fight for the right to give Iran their newest technologies. Besides, Iran will get back billions of US dollars frozen in the banks of some countries due to the sanctions. That is, Iran will get the status of an extremely attractive partner. Considering that Russia has been a driving force in making a decision on the Iran nuclear deal, it will get preferences. In this situation, Moscow is forestalling future competition for the Iranian market and is acting in advance and is doing rightly," President of the Institute of the Middle East Yevgeny Satanovsky told TASS.
"The interests of Russia and Iran in the Middle East coincide closely. This includes the joint anti-terror struggle and mutually advantageous cooperation. What Turkey could have received before its attack on the Russian Su-24 plane will now largely go to Iran. Russia’s friends are the countries that want to be friends with it," the expert said.
As for the delivery of Russian-made S-300 air defense missile systems to Tehran, the international community should have no grounds for concern about security in the Middle East.
"Washington was convincing Moscow that the missile defense shield systems being deployed in Eastern Europe were not aimed against Russia and were designed to contain threats coming from Iran. We’re responding to our American partners with the same argument: Russia’s intention to supply S-300 air defense missile systems is not aimed against any Middle East state, including Israel as the US ally in the region. This is a purely defensive weapon," Deputy Director of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Major-General Pavel Zolotaryov told TASS.
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