President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
The talks with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, who is in Russia on an official visit, were held in a businesslike and constructive manner. You have seen us sign a comprehensive Joint Statement and a major package of intergovernmental, interdepartmental and corporate documents. Thus, we can state with confidence that relations between Russia and Iran are truly of a friendly and respectful nature.
Our states strive in every way to strengthen our multifaceted, mutually beneficial ties, and aim to bring our cooperation, through joint efforts, to the next level of strategic partnership. Mr Rouhani and I have agreed to continue to maintain an intensive political dialogue between our two countries, and to deepen Russian-Iranian cooperation in various areas, primarily the economy.
We noted with satisfaction that trade between Russia and Iran grew by more than 70 percent in 2016. This is a truly good result, since we managed to achieve it amid an unstable global economy and persisting volatility on the commodity and currency markets.
During a meeting with heads of departments and representatives of major businesses, the participants analysed the opportunities for increasing mutual flows of goods and investments, and expanding contacts in the sphere of innovations and innovative technology. In this regard, specific tasks have been set for the bilateral Intergovernmental Commission and the High Commission of Russian-Iranian Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
In particular, it was deemed necessary to step up the implementation of the Roadmap for Cooperation in Trade and Industry. We noted the importance of creating favourable conditions for reciprocal deliveries of agricultural products and food, as well as developing interbank ties and using national currencies in mutual settlements. Both sides also expressed their support for creating a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran.
Particular attention was paid to bilateral projects in the nuclear power industry. Russia is providing substantial assistance to Iran in this area. Moreover, our cooperation strictly complies with international law, IAEA requirements and all provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme.
The first unit of the Bushehr NPP built by Rosatom has reached its design capacity, is operating stably and generates electricity for the Iranian economy. Documents are being coordinated for building the second and the third NPP units.
Russia is involved in developing other energy sectors in Iran. State loans in the amount of 2.2 billion euros have been set aside for financing the construction of the Sirik thermal power plant on the Persian Gulf shore and the adaptation of railway electric traction in northern Iran.
We see good potential for expanding our cooperation in the oil and gas sector. Leading Russian companies have achieved a number of important agreements for developing major hydrocarbon fields in Iran. Our states cooperate within the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, and coordinate their efforts in order to stabilise international oil markets.
We also focused on ways to expand cooperation in engineering and civil aviation. The agenda includes possible deliveries to Iran of modern medium-haul aircraft such as the Sukhoi Superjet 100, as well as helicopters for Iran’s medical aviation.
We agreed with our Iranian partners to do our best to promote the development of direct ties between the regions of our two countries, and to hold a Russian-Iranian Forum of Interregional Cooperation in Astrakhan before the end of this year.
Russia and Iran attach great importance to building up interaction in the sphere of culture and education. Ten Iranian universities now have Russian language and literature departments. This year, Iran received 92 scholarships paid for from the Russian budget; another 82 Iranian students enrolled with Russian universities on a paid basis.
An agreement on simplifying mutual travel terms for the citizens of the two countries helps expand contacts between our peoples. Last year alone, the number of Russian visas issued to Iranians grew by 73 percent. I am confident that the implementation of the agreement on visa-free group tours that was signed today will boost tourist exchanges between our countries.
Of course, Mr Rouhani and I touched upon important regional and international issues. I would note that the positions of our countries are quite close on many issues of international politics.
We consider it important to further strengthen our cooperation in fighting international terrorism. Russia and Iran coordinate their efforts as we try to eliminate ISIS and al-Nusra and to settle the situation in Syria. Largely due to our joint efforts, we have succeeded in achieving the cessation of hostilities and extending this to a significant portion of Syria.
The participation of Russia and Iran, along with Turkey, as guarantor countries in the Astana talks between the representatives of the armed opposition and the Syrian government is an important contribution to advancing a peaceful political settlement in Syria, and facilitating inter-Syrian talks and the corresponding process under the UN auspices in Geneva.
We discussed the situation in Afghanistan, noting the importance of achieving national reconciliation in that country. Russia believes it is quite useful that, in the wake of multilateral talks held in Moscow in February, Iran joined in the international efforts aimed at launching constructive dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Our country also supports Iran's plans to step up cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which, of course, will have a favourable influence on the developments in the region.
In light of the upcoming 5th Caspian Summit in Astana, the parties noted the advisability of completing the work on drafting the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea as soon as possible.
In closing, I would like to emphasise once again that, in general, the talks were thorough and effective. I would like to thank President Rouhani and all our Iranian colleagues. I am confident that the agreements reached today will give further impetus to strengthening our mutually beneficial cooperation across all areas.
I have asked Mr President to convey our very best wishes to the spiritual leader of Iran, who is our great friend.
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (re-translated): In the name of God, the most gracious and merciful,
First, I would like to thank the Government of the Russian Federation and the people of Russia for their warm and sincere hospitality. On behalf of the Iranian delegation, I would like to express our gratitude and thank His Excellency, President Putin, for the invitation which was extended to me and my accompanying delegation.
During today's talks in restricted and expanded formats, we discussed relations between our two countries, and reached new agreements to promote and encourage our trade and economic ties.
The relationship between our two countries, from the perspective of expanding economic, trade and tourism relations, show that our bilateral ties have improved over the past year. The decisions that were made in recent months, as well as the ones that were made today, show that we are on a path towards comprehensive development of our economic, cultural, and scientific relations, and that we are moving towards establishing strategic ties.
Earlier decisions to build two new Bushehr NPP units and a thermal power plant in Bandar Abbas, to promote cooperation between our respective railways and to electrify the Garmsar-Inche Burun railway are being implemented. Also, we are acting upon the agreements between our countries to promote trade in food and agricultural products, as well as in industry.
During this visit, decisions were made regarding new areas of cooperation, and all these areas show that we are at a new stage in our economic relations, and our overall links have graduated from ordinary to major long-term projects. We are making the right decisions serving the long-term strategy of our relations.
We discussed developing the North-South transport corridor, privileges and preferences that have emerged along the way in trade between our two countries for our entrepreneurs, as well as the efforts undertaken by Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan. The most recent meeting of this ”triangle“ was held in Baku, and these tripartite relations will continue for the benefit of our peoples.
In the sphere of science, culture and tourism, the decisions that were made on technology, research institutes and our universities will lead to the expansion of our relations.
We also discussed the formation of a Free Trade Zone between Iran and the EAEU member countries. This, too, can promote trade between the EAEU countries and Iran and create conditions in regional trade.
We also discussed regional issues at our meeting today, including peace and security in the region, as well as the establishment of closer relations between the countries and the peoples of the region. We discussed the concerns that exist with regard to Syria and Yemen, and other countries of the region, as well as our cooperation in fighting terrorism. We will continue fighting it until terrorist acts stops in the entire region. The talks in Astana with the participation of Iran, Russia and Turkey will also continue, so that the people of Syria can exercise their national rights.
With regard to the international agenda and the close ties that exist between our countries, in particular, with regard to implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), I would be remiss not to mention the assistance that Russia has provided in order to achieve the agreement and implement the JCPoA, to build the nuclear power plant and to promote fuel production. Our cooperation on international norms and rules within the IAEA and our agreement on the JCPoA will continue, and both our countries stressed that the JCPoA has become stronger and is being implemented, and our interaction on peaceful nuclear issues is being properly coordinated.
We discussed the legal issues related to the Caspian Sea and further steps to be taken in this area in order to sign documents during the summit. This was another topic which we discussed today.
The signing of today's documents shows that we are moving forward along the path of developing our bilateral relations. So, once again I want to thank His Excellency President Putin, as well as the ministers of the Russian Government, for your warm hospitality.
Thank you very much.