The Jerusalem Post broke the story about the meeting, which took place on April 9 between Iranian Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and Russian Aide to the President and Secretary of the State Council Igor Levitin. (Related: BRICS nations rapidly working to create common currency to counter US dollar's global hegemony.)
The meeting between Levitin and Shamkhani was reportedly very successful due to the volume of economic cooperation agreements brought up between Russia and Iran. Shamkhani himself praised "the path that started to reduce the influence of the dollar in regional and international economic exchanges."
The plans the two agreed upon, Shamkhani said, "will limit the dominance of the West over the world economy to the minimum."
Levitin similarly noted that the initiatives finalized between Iran and Russia in the financial and banking sectors were aimed at funding joint projects and that these agreements are an "effective" means of neutralizing the effect of the West's unlawful sanctions against the two nations.
The Russian official further hailed the promotion of bilateral trade and economic cooperation agreements between Iran and Russia and emphasized the need to accelerate the implementation of these joint economic projects.
Levitin noted how both the Russian and Iranian economies will benefit when the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) opens.
The INSTC is a 7,200-kilometer (4,474 miles) multi-mode transport corridor for the easy movement of freight and other trade goods by ship networks, railroads and highways. Construction on the INSTC began in 2000, and once completed, it will connect Russia and Iran through neighboring Azerbaijan. It will also connect Russia to India, and other countries nearby are also expected to benefit greatly.
This transport corridor's main goal is to create new networks of trade that can bypass American and Western sanctions, especially as the West continues to pile on new sanctions on Iran as well as on Russia for its special military operation in Ukraine. For example, this will allow Iran to continue supplying Russia with drones to attack Ukrainian troops, while Iran can also benefit as it desires more Russian aid for its own growing defense industry.
Shamkhani described the INSTC as having a "decisive role in changing the geometry of goods transit in the region."
One component of the INSTC, the Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway, is expected to cut the travel time needed to transport cargo from Helsinki in Finland via Russia to Iran's southern ports on the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman by at least 20 days. The railway ends in the Azerbaijani city of Astara, right across the border from the Iranian city of the same name, and it acts as a connector for other sections of the INSTC in Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Iran and Russia are close to an agreement in Moscow to help finance the latter stages of the project, which Tehran estimates will cost around 800 million euros ($883 million) to finish. The project could lead to a major increase in cargo being transported from Russia to the Indian Ocean and vice versa.
Iran first started approaching Russia to secure the funding needed to complete the Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway back in January during Levitin's last trip to Iran. During that trip, Levitin visited an ongoing railway project in northern Iran.
For his part, Levitin noted that it is in Russia's interest to accelerate the completion of joint projects, particularly those that allow the opening of new transport corridors between the two nations. He added that Moscow is ready to invest in various economic sectors of Iran, including in the steel, oil and petrochemical industries.
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