Russia and Iran are considering abolishing tourist visas between the two countries, Iran’s Energy Minister and Co-chair of the Russian-Iranian Intergovernmental Commission, Reza Ardakanian said, cited by RIA on November 29th.
“As for tourism, we have an agreement on the abolition of visas, the documents signed on this issue need only the executive regulations,” he said.
Preparation of the regulation may take one or two months.
Over the previous week, Russia and Iran discussed the creation of a passenger service on the Caspian Sea. This will contribute to the development of tourism and lead to an increase in bilateral tourist traffic, said Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Construction Mohammad Eslami.
Furthermore, Iranian tour operators are interested in direct flights between Tehran and Sochi, Eslami added.
This is yet another sign of strengthening economic, cultural and political ties between Russia and Iran.
Since the beginning of 2017, there has been an increase in co-operation between Tehran and Moscow.
- On March 28th, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Moscow. The leaders discussed Russian-Iranian co-operation with particular attention being paid to expanding trade, economic and investment ties, including in the context of the implementation of major joint projects in the field of energy and transport infrastructure.
- On November 1st, 2017, a three-way meeting took place between Putin, Rouhani and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Tehran. Putin also met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Once again, economic, agricultural and energy co-operation was discussed. In addition to that, the security of the region was also reviewed, in addition to the Iran Nuclear Deal and the situation in Syria.
- On November 22nd, 2017, Vladimir Putin met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi. The talks were devoted to the Syrian settlement, taking into account the joint work in the Astana format.
- On April 4th, 2018, Putin met with Rouhani during his visit to Turkey. Once more they discussed bilateral co-operation as part of their respective international and regional agenda.
- On June 9, a regular meeting of Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani took place on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Qingdao (China).
- On July 12, Vladimir Putin received Ali Akbar Velayati, senior advisor to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran on international issues, at the country residence of Novo-Ogaryovo. The advisor conveyed messages from Rouhani and Ali Khamenei.
- On August 12th, Putin and Rouhani took part in the Fifth Caspian Summit held in Aktau, Kazakhstan. They discussed ways to resolve the most acute global crises, especially in the Middle East region.
- The heads of the foreign affairs agencies of the two countries meet regularly in the framework of the UNGA sessions, “on the margins” of other international events, and communicate by telephone.
- Between September 3rd and 8th, the days of Iranian culture took place in Moscow and Ufa.
Furthermore, in terms of military co-operation, Iran operates an S-300 missile air defense system, which had been received from Russia.
Following the US sanctions, Boeing and Airbus couldn’t effectively seek to sell aircraft in Iran. Thus, that opened the scene for Moscow-based Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. According to reports from May 2018, Sukhoi is planning to make a modified version of its Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional airliner so that Iranian airlines are capable of buying the jet.
Russia and Iran are also allies in the ongoing war in Syria where they are working with the Damascus government and Turkey to put an end to the conflict.
The analysis below was released by SouthFront in early 2017, but it still remains useful to udnerstand the Russian-Iranian relations: