(Photo credit: Reuters)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks on 15 September on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan, aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
According to media reports, Putin announced during the meeting that a Russian delegation representing around 80 companies will be visiting the Islamic Republic the following week, signaling the ever-growing economic relationship between Tehran and Moscow.
Just one day earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced his country’s signing of a memorandum allowing Iran’s official entry into the SCO, after the organization approved Tehran’s request for membership last year.
“By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation,” Abdollahian said.
The SCO is a political, security, and economic bloc founded and led by China and Russia in 2001, and is increasingly becoming an important tool to counter western hegemony and bypass sanctions. The organization’s member states, which also include India and Pakistan, make up around 40 percent of the world population and around 30 percent of the global GDP. It has been referred to as the world’s largest regional organization.
Recently, Iran and Russia have boosted cooperation in a bid to evade sanctions and build a roadmap for creating a strong economic partnership independent of the west.
Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, revealed on 24 August that the two countries have started conducting trade in their national currencies for the first time. Additionally, officials have stated that Tehran is only months away from joining Moscow’s Mir payment system, which serves as an alternative to western debit and credit card payment systems.
The Islamic Republic also recently completed, through its national shipping firm, its first transport of Russian goods to India via the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a major shipping corridor that will serve as a sanctions-free zone and a viable alternative to the Suez Canal.