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January 2019, No. 90


Mazandaran Special Report | News in Brief

Iran’s Mazandaran, Russia’s Volgograd Sign MOU


“Iran and Russia possess very valuable capacities, and the economic cooperation of the two sides, which is approved by the leaders of the two countries, requires a fundamental transformation” Eslami said.


The governorates general of Iran’s Mazandaran and Russia’s Volgograd signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on establishing international and foreign economic relations, innovation, technology, and social and cultural affairs. The Governor General of Volgograd Andrey Bocharov traveled to Mazandaran at the head of a 40-member delegation to discuss improvement of bilateral relations between the two neighboring provinces. After visiting the capacities of Amirabad Special Economic Zone and meeting with the provincial economic activists, Bocharov met with the Governor General of Mazandaran, Mohammad Eslami. At that meeting, the two sides signed the MOU which aims at developing and strengthening cooperation between the parties in the above mentioned areas in accordance with the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation as well as international treaties the two parties comply with.

Based on the MOU, Mazandaran and Volgograd will cooperate on the following areas: business development, investment, direct production links in the agricultural sector, application of modern technology, mutual delivery of goods and services, establishment of sustainable links between cultural institutions, tourism, medicine, education and social activities, sports, festivals and exchange of visits by citizens of Mazandaran and Volgograd, promotion of the expertise level and retraining of the educational staff, exchange of experience in safeguarding the cultural heritage, creating integrated information resources of libraries and museums, holding joint scientific and practical conferences on important issues in the field of health care, medicine, providing health care for human populations, exchange of information on social services to various sectors of the society and government support for certain groups of citizens.

Turning Point in Bilateral Relations

Addressing a joint meeting with Bocharov, Eslami said: “Iran and Russia possess very valuable capacities, and the economic cooperation of the two sides, which is approved by the leaders of the two countries, requires a fundamental transformation. He added that opportunities and capacities available in Mazandaran and Volgograd can turn the two provinces into the gateway of the two countries.

Eslami said Mazandaran with a GDP of 12 billion dollars and a production of 5.6 million tons of horticultural, fisheries, and livestock products ... has a great capacity to develop exchanges with the Volgograd region. He said plans have been formulated to increase exchanges between the two provinces to the level of $200 million in the first step. “The targets of the operations are the private sectors of the two countries, and the governorates of the two provinces expect the private sectors to translate the MOU into a contract.”

Noting that the power of the countries must serve peace, stability and progress, Eslami said: “Iran and Russia have great potentials and bilateral economic cooperation, which is endorsed by the leaders of the two countries, requires a fundamental transformation; and the private sector in the opinion of Iran and Russia is the focus of these developments.”

He said the two governors had reached agreement to create the necessary infrastructure in the two provinces to facilitate and expedite the economic activity of business activists on both sides. “These infrastructures should be built and consolidated in the ports of the two countries with the required capabilities. Moreover, scientific and educational cooperation between the two countries’ institutions, development of travels by the people of the two provinces, and the establishment of regular flights between Mazandaran and Volgograd, are among other areas of cooperation in the MOU. The agreements reached in the meeting are a turning point in cooperation between the two countries, focusing on the two provinces of Mazandaran and Volgograd.”

Bocharov: Volgograd a reliable and strong partner

Speaking in a meeting with Eslami, Volgograd governor said they had come to Mazandaran for business since the province has numerous potentials and capabilities for developing cooperation. Two meetings between officials of the two countries are held in a climate of enhanced cooperation between Iran and Russia. “Bilateral relations are favorable at different levels and the flow of goods and services is growing and several joint projects are being implemented.”

Bocharov said that meetings between the leaders of the two countries are held regularly, and the positive results of these meetings portray the pattern of relations between the two provinces of Mazandaran and Volgograd. He added that the interactions between his delegation and the officials and managers of the public and private sectors of Mazandaran were conducive to continuing constructive relations. “Our intra-regional cooperation would be a leap forward.”

He said Volgograd is a reliable and strong partner in various fields of science, technology, medicine and ... for Mazandaran, adding that Volgograd has an area of 13,000 square kilometers and its population is 5.2 million where large and small projects worth $7 billion are being implemented. He noted that today we got familiar with the capacities and capabilities of Mazandaran and discussed the options and areas of cooperation with the public and private sectors, which are mostly large-scale projects. This cooperation could be a leap for the two countries, Bocharov said, noting: “We have all the necessary facilities for implementing the above projects and we should not miss opportunities. We have a big and serious work in front of us and Mazandaran and Volgograd have the will and capacity to develop relations.”

At the end, an MOU was signed in 12 clauses on the establishment of international and foreign economic relations.

Then the governors general of Mazandaran and Volgograd participated in a press conference and answered questions about the development of relations between the two provinces.

High Capacity in Mazandaran and Volgograd

Bocharov said the agreement signed between the two provinces would be the basis for bilateral cooperation, adding: “I see high capacities in both sides to cooperate and develop relations, and we highlighted the cooperation in our meetings with the public and private sectors of Mazandaran. We would make decisions to strengthen the interactions and we should pursue the targets carefully.”

 He said the export share of Volgograd through the port of Amirabad was seven percent, which he described as significant. “The two sides have good and effective plans to increase this share in the future.”

Bocharov said that today we see a good infrastructure in Amirabad, which is in the process of development, and this is an important point for boosting of relations. ”A good prospect is ahead of us and we must use the capacity of the Amirabad harbor appropriately.” 

$200m Trade Target

Governor general of Mazandaran said speeding up the process of exchanges between the two provinces, including transportation was the most important part of the mutual agreement.

Addressing a news conference, he said cheaper, easier and faster access for merchants, regular shipping lines, regular flights, and the use of existing railroads connecting Mazandaran to Russia are infrastructures that can expand the volume of contacts and cooperation. Eslami said that the volume of trade between the two countries could grow rapidly, adding: “Regarding the determination of both sides, I believe that we will pursue the 200 million-dollar target for trade between the two countries.”

Eslami said the joint economic commission and the joint commission of Iran’s Majlis and Russia’s Duma emphasize on joint economic cooperation. “The MOU between Mazandaran and Volgograd has been signed in compliance with this emphasis,” he noted and considered the MOU as the starting point for interaction and development of relations. “Volgograd and Mazandaran are planning to access each other’s market for transit of imported and exported goods.” He described the MOU signed by the two provinces a “milestone” in bilateral ties, adding that the topics and axes are known for the beginning of the cooperation, and the delegations are aware of each other’s capacities as a step towards converting the MOU into a contract.

Referring to the economic balance of the two provinces, he noted: “If grains and oilseeds are the strong points of Volgograd, in Mazandaran there are citrus fruits,  kiwi, and dairy and fishery products which can play a role in the economic balance. Eslami added: “We reached agreement that the two governors monitor the implementation process and the progress of the MOU and report the barriers in its way.”

 

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