1012 GMT February 21, 2020
Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei, in a visit to Derbent, discussed the development of relations between Iran and Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, reported Fars News Agency.
During the visit, the two sides discussed the issue of increasing cargo traffic through Makhachkala Commercial Sea Port, as well as the launch of direct passenger and cargo flights between Makhachkala and Tehran.
Head of Dagestan Republic, Vladimir Vasiliev said Derbent attracts many Iranians and the ferry service is expected to help facilitate their commutes.
“[Tehran] is ready to establish sea links with us, and we are ready to cooperate – and everything will work,” Vasilyev told journalists at a press briefing.
He said that Iran’s business community had started to take an interest in Dagestan, in particular in Derbent, with a number of international projects already being implemented and set to transform the region.
“International projects are being implemented in Derbent, there are some very interesting solutions there. The city used to have a billion-plus [rubles] annual income, but now it is receiving four billion [rubles] more [from investors],” Vasilyev stated.
Earlier reports regarding cooperation between Dagestan and the Islamic Republic referred to plans to increase the sales turnover between the two sides, particularly to boost lamb exports to Iran from the current 4,000 tons to 6,000 tons by the end of the year.
At present, the volume of trade between Iran and the republics of the North Caucasus is in the ballparks of $54 million.
Early in January, Rear-Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the commander of the Iranian Navy said Iran and Russia will hold joint drills in the Caspian Sea as he underlines opposition to the military presence of any country from outside the region.
“Relief and rescue, tactical, and anti-piracy exercises between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be carried out in the near future,” he said.