Putin to visit Tehran next week

Russia’s President Putin plans to visit Tehran to attend the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in the Iranian capital next week, a senior Russian government official has said.

“We are preparing to take part in the third Gas Exporting Countries Forum on November 23 in Tehran…Russia will…participate on the highest level, our president will go there,” Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov was reported as saying by the Sputnik International website on 13 November.

Ushakoy said that bilateral meetings could take place on the sidelines of the forum with Iranian officials and representatives of other countries represented at the summit.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last week that Russia planned to sign co-operation agreements with Iran at an intergovernmental commission meeting on 17 November.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is supported by 11 of the world’s leading natural gas producers:  Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. Iran has the world’s largest proven gas reserves and Russia’s are the second largest.

Bilateral trade involving Russia and Iran is now worth $1bn a year. Russian officials say it is forecast to grow to $2.5bn “in the short term”.