A Russian agricultural official says Iran is ready to start shipping dairy products to his country as part of an agreement for sourcing food amid Moscow’s ban on such imports from Europe.
The idea of Russian imports of Iranian dairy, milk, meat, poultry and seafood has been broached for some time but the wait for the first shipments has dragged out longer than expected.
Russia’s agricultural watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, now says Iranian dairy products have successfully passed an inspection.
A special protocol on supply conditions must be signed before Iran can begin shipments, an assistant to the watchdog’s chief Alexei Alexeyenko told the Russian radio.
Russia has been looking for new sources of agricultural products after banning imports of fruit, vegetables, fish and dairy products from Europe, the US, Canada and Australia in retaliation.
Alexeyenko said his country will have to buy dairy products, especially cheese, from other countries for some time.
Iran has appeared on Russia’s radar for quite some time and Iranian fishery products are already making their way into the Russian market.
According to an official at the Iranian Fisheries Organization Isa Golshahi, about 22,000 metric tons of shrimps and fish, worth $70 million, were exported to Russia in the five months since March.
Significant exports of Iranian agricultural products would happen only when the Russian customers know Iranian products, secretary of the Iranian Exporters of Aquatics Association Ali Akbar Khoda’ee has said.
“But this is a long-term process and needs some grounds to be paved,” he said in September.
In their bid to confront Western sanctions on both countries, Iran and Russia have agreed on bartering oil for goods but the arrangement has yet to take off. After the nuclear accord, Russia has acted quickly to cement ties with Iran.
On Wednesday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak arrived in Tehran with representatives of 10 leading oil and gas companies for a two-day visit.
Novak will meet Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh and other officials as the two countries seek to increase bilateral trade to $10 billion a year from $2 billion at present.
According to Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei, the two sides will pay special attention to Iran’s energy resources in their talks.