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Putin, Rouhani Meet in Moscow, Avoid Politics, Focus on Economy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 28, 2017. (AFP)

Moscow – Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani avoided during their talks held in Moscow Tuesday to tackle political disputes, as both men chose to focus on economic files.

The two sides signed a number of joint agreements in the nuclear, energy and transportation sectors.

Russia and Iran signed 16 agreements to boost joint cooperation on several levels, mainly the construction of two new blocks of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, after the first one had reached the design capacity.

Among the agreements, Russian companies also reached deals on the development of major hydrocarbon fields in Iran.

The Russian side agreed on the provision of a state export credit for Iran to finance the electrification of Garmsar – Ince-Burun railway segment, signed in Tehran on December 13, 2016.

The two sides also signed memorandums of understanding in the gas and oil sectors.
Putin praised the joint economic cooperation between both countries, adding that the level of commercial turnover between Iran and Russia surged by more than 70 percent in 2016.

“This is a good result indeed,” Putin said.

The Russian president called on the joint Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission to proactively work on implementing the coordination roadmap in trade and industry, and to create favorable conditions for counter-deliveries of agricultural products and foods, the development of interbank relations and the use of domestic currencies in mutual investments.

Rouhani’s visit to Russia came following reports in the past few months about disputes between Moscow and Tehran, particularly concerning the situation in Syria.

The disputes were clearly made public last August when Iran prevented Russia from launching rockets from its Hamadan base to raid Syrian targets.

At that time, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan had described the Russian behavior as “an act of show.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia could use Iranian military bases to launch air strikes against militants in Syria on a “case by case basis.”

“Russia doesn’t have a military base (in Iran), we have good cooperation, and on a case by case basis, when it is necessary for Russians fighting terrorism to use Iranian facilities, we will make a decision,” said Zarif.