0105 GMT August 18, 2022
Iran and Russia said on Thursday they were working to finalize a 20-year strategic cooperation accord.
“We hope to soon have expert-level meetings to finalize the terms of this agreement and have it approved by the governments and parliaments of Iran and Russia,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told a joint press conference with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Tehran.
Amir-Abdollahian said Iran would welcome “the comprehensive long-term and strategic cooperation agreement” between the two countries.
Lavrov said Russia and Iran had decided to bolster their relations “to reach a high level” under a “major agreement” initiated by President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.
He said Moscow and Tehran agreed to expedite the expert review of “the important document” and finish it as soon as possible.
“The document shapes the future of our strategic partnership for the next 20 years," he said, adding that the deal would cover trade, economic and political issues.
Raeisi visited Moscow in January and said he had presented his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin with draft documents on strategic cooperation that would cement collaboration between the two sides for the next two decades.
Amir-Abdollahian and Lavrov on Thursday also highlighted the need for joint efforts to offset “illegal US sanctions”.
Iran’s top diplomat said Tehran and Moscow reached “important agreements" over the past months to render US sanctions ineffective”.
He noted that Iran opposed both war and the imposition of “illegal sanctions” on countries.
Iran and Russia have both been targeted by Western sanctions.
Lavrov said during his meeting with Amir-Abdollahian, they discussed the need to boost bilateral trade despite US sanctions.
“It is upon us to develop relations between the two countries even as illegal sanctions by the United States and its allies have hindered the dynamic cooperation of Iran and Russia with the world,” he pointed out.
Lavrov said trade between Russia and Iran had increased by 80% despite US sanctions, reaching $4 billion last year.
Lavrov arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for key talks with Iranian officials including President Raeisi who told the top diplomat Iran and Russia were determined to “open a new chapter of fruitful and strategic cooperation”, particularly in the economic sector.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “certainly” visit Iran, but noted that the exact date was not known yet.