Tehran is ‘adopting the necessary preparations’ for Iran to become a a permanent member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), its Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghaliba said on Tuesday.
A Russian initiative, the EEU was established in 2014 as a trade bloc for several former Soviet satellite countries. Its founder members were Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia and they were later joined by Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Two years ago, it set up a Free Trade Zone with Iran, so the possibility of the Islamic Republic joining the EEU is on one level both a logical progression and a reflection of economic reality; over the past two years, Iranian exports to Russia are said to have increased by 40%, despite the damaging effects of COVID-19.
The timing of the announcement will not, however, have been lost on Washington, where President Biden is coming under pressure from both hawks and the pro-Iranian lobby to clarify his position on the sanctions that Trump imposed after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear treaty.