Russia has reportedly held high-level talks with Iran’s Kish Airlines on the possibility of offering 15 Russian Tu-204SM aircraft, signifying the two countries could be seeking to expand trade relations following the Iran nuclear agreement reached this year. The announcement comes as Iran prepares to see sanctions lifted and has become an important ally of Russia on the international stage.
"The Russian side is ready to offer Tu-204SM aircraft to our Iranian colleagues. Currently, talks are proceeding with the Iranian Kish Airlines on the supply of 10 to 15 planes of this type," Russia's trade ministry said after a meeting between the ministry's head, Denis Manturov, and Iran's business minister, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, according to Russian Sputnik News.
The Tupolev Tu-204 is a twin-engine jet airliner that can carry several hundred passengers and is similar to a Boeing 757. The ministers met during a three-day trade summit in the Iranian capital of Tehran that focused on strengthening economic ties between Tehran and Moscow. Russian companies were offered the opportunity to show off their export and investment potential. A number of Iranian ministers were set to attend, including the country’s defense minister.
Trade between Iran and Russia was suspended in 2008 after the international community voted to slap sanctions against Iran. An agreement reached in July, however, was expected to open Iran’s economy. The deal between the U.S., Iran and five other word powers requires Iran to end its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for a gradual lifting of many of the sanctions imposed against it. Some of the sanctions could be lifted within the next few months.
Russia and Iran are significant allies. They have supported each other on foreign policy in recent years, and both are fighting to back embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. Last month Russia began the delivery of S-300 missile defense systems, which had been previously tabled due to the nuclear deal.