A free trade zone agreement between Iran, Russia and several countries that cover the vast Eurasian region spreading from the borders of Eastern Europe to Western China is possible by the end of the year, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Monday.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk told the state TASS agency in an interview that talks between the Eurasian Economic Union – which comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia – and Iran are in their final stages. “We are moving forward,” Overchuk said. “We very much hope that such an agreement can be signed by the end of the year.”
Both the region and Iran have taken on additional significance for the Kremlin after Western sanctions over the Russia-Ukraine conflict limited Russia’s foreign trade routes and forced it to look for markets outside Europe.
However, despite tighter ties between Moscow and Tehran since the conflict started in February 2022 and Russia began big purchases of Iranian-made drones, trade between the two markets have grown only moderately.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2023.