MESOP NEWS : JOINT ECONOMY CONTRA ISRAEL: Rouhani Talks to Russia’s Putin About Economy & Syria


Mesop news – August 15, 2017 – Facing concerns over Iran’s economy and the Syrian conflict, President Hassan Rouhani has spoken with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Rouhani said during the phone call, “Tehran welcomes active presence of Russian investors and private sector in implementation of important infrastructural projects, including in such sectors as industry and energy.” More than 18 months after implementation of the nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China), Iran is struggling to confirm foreign trade and investment needed for economic recovery.European firms have been wary of restoring links because of fears of US financial punishment. The situation has been compounded in the past month by new sanctions passed by Congress and signed by Donald Trump.

While Iran did get a breakthrough in July with the signature of a $4.8 billion deal with France’s Total for development of the South Pars gas field, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said that Tehran needs $200 billion for its energy sector.

Rouhani’s office assured that, in Monday’s conversation, Putin said “his country’s economic activists and investors were keen to participate in Iran’s infrastructural projects”.Rouhani also spoke with Putin about the Syrian situation. No details were given beyond the template phrases “regional issues” and “fighting terrorism”.

However, Iran has been wary of Russia’s pursuit of “de-escalation zones” — even though Tehran signed the general proclamation alongside Moscow and Turkey in early May — because they could establish a de facto partition of Syria. The Islamic Republic has also been more forthright in its insistence that Bashar al-Assad remain in power under any political settlement. Those concerns have been reinforced this summer by Russia’s renewed cooperation with the US, including on the first de-escalation zone proclaimed jointly by the two countries.

Israel has insisted that Iranian forces and those of Tehran’s ally Hezbollah are excluded from the zone in southwest Syria bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. An Israeli delegation is visiting the US this week to urge the Trump Administration to press for the removal of the Iranian military, Hezbollah, and Iranian-led foreign militia from all of Syria.