Putin: Talks to begin with Iran on free trade agreement with EAEU

13 Dec 2020

Putin: Talks to begin with Iran on free trade agreement with EAEU

By Press TV

Sunday, 13 December 2020 11:55 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 13 December 2020 12:01 PM ]



Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Supreme Eurasian Economic Council leaders via a video conference call at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on December 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to boost ties between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and countries such as Iran, saying negotiations have begun with Tehran on a free trade agreement.

Speaking at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Friday, Putin announced that a decision would also be taken to provide observer status to Uzbekistan and Cuba.

"An agreement on cooperation between EAEU and such economically large countries as China, India is being implemented," he said. "The first round of talks on a free trade agreement with India will be held shortly.”

"Today we will approve the launch of similar talks with Iran," he added, noting that the idea of making preferential agreements with Indonesia and Mongolia is also welcome.

The EAEU is an economic union of states located in Eastern Europe as well as Western and Central Asia. It has five members – Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia – with 180 million people and nearly $5 trillion in combined GDP.

Lavrov: Russia, Iran explore new methods to counter sanctions

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Moscow and Tehran would be looking for “new methods of ignoring the sanctions’ negative economic effect."

Russia and Iran are taking measures not to allow bilateral trade and economic cooperation "to shrink,” he told Iran's IRIB broadcaster in an interview.

"On the contrary, it is growing, in particular, thanks to the refusal to use the US dollar, the shift of the gravity center towards national currencies in settlements and new creative schemes of economic interaction. It works.”

The top Russian diplomat also underlined the need for relying on the states that firmly follow the principles of international law, rather than the Western countries which are applying sanctions.

It is necessary to build up the campaign in the UN and at other multilateral forums for denouncing unilateral sanctions, Lavrov said.

"For many years, we have been voting together with Iran and an overwhelming majority of UN members in support of the resolution on the illegitimacy of the economic blockade of Cuba. Only 2-3 members of the organization, together with the United States, do not support it," he added.

He further emphasized that Russia’s support for Iran’s economy amounts to billions of dollars.

Russia flatly rejects imposing illegitimate unilateral restrictions and applying them extraterritorially, which it signaled "quite clearly" after the United States pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Lavrov said.

"We do not just refuse to recognize unilateral sanctions, but support Iran with specific measures. Perhaps, we are doing more than anyone else. In terms of figures, this amounts to billions of dollars. The work is ongoing in all the directions: from agriculture to information technologies.”

The Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015 between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — and was ratified in the form of Resolution 2231.

However, the US under President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted by the deal.

The Trump administration also unleashed the so-called maximum pressure campaign and targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” restrictive measures.