Moscow is hoping to cement its strengthening relationship with Tehran by clinching industrial export deals worth more than $21bn, as it prepares to send one of its biggest trade delegations to Iran next month, Financial Times reported.
Ilya Tarasenko, new president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, said the company was in advanced talks to sell 100 Sukhoi regional passenger superjets to Iran.
“We are in talks and are ready to ship the order should the sanctions be lifted,” said Mr Tarasenko.
Sanctions on Iran are expected to be gradually lifted in the near future following the nuclear accord struck with the so-called P5+1 (five permanent members of Security Council and Germany) in July.
The talks on the Sukhoi superjets, which can seat about 80 people, come as Denis Manturov, Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry will head a group of companies operating in the civil and defense sectors, including Gazprom, Russian Helicopters, United Aircraft Corporation (the maker of Sukhoi jets) in mid-December.
Rostec, Russia’s biggest defense conglomerate, said the focus would mainly be on civil exports, in areas such as aerospace, infrastructure and energy, although Russia’s defense companies are also eyeing up the potential of the Iranian market when sanctions are finally lifted.
President Vladimir Putin traveled to Iran for the first time in eight years on Monday in an attempt to strengthen political and economic ties between the two countries, which have found common cause in the fight against Takfiri insurgent groups in Syria.
Russia was also one of the key players in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
It was recently announced that the deliveries of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran will start by the end of 2016.
Among the companies hoping to clinch big export deals at the next month’s trade fair is Russian Helicopters, which is looking to increase sales of serially produced civilian helicopters to Iran and others countries of the Middle East, it said.
Alexander Mikheev, chief executive of Russian Helicopter, was in Tehran last week with Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister in charge of the defence industry, to lay the groundwork for Mr Putin’s visit and for further deals at the trade fair.
Trade delegations are almost a weekly affair in Tehran now that the country has agreed constraints on its nuclear program with global powers. George Osborne, UK chancellor, has said he wants to take what might be Britain’s biggest-ever trade delegation to Iran next year.
The attraction is not only Iran’s vast oil and gas reserves but an economy that is forecast to grow rapidly once economic sanctions are lifted. According to some estimates Iran is set to contribute nearly as much as Italy to global growth in the next decade, roughly $270bn.
Russia’s energy minister recently told reporters that trade with Iran — which totaled $1.6bn last year — could rise to $10bn in the near future. His comments were made to reporters at a meeting of the Russian-Iranian Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation.