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 – Members of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) have signed a fully-fledged free trade agreement with Iran, Russia’s economy ministry and the EEU said on Monday.

The agreement will become permanent and replace a similar temporary pact in force since 2019. The previous deal facilitated mutual trade with Iran and increased it to $6.2 billion in 2022 from $2.4 billion in 2019.

The Eurasian Economic Union comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Russia Says Working on Big New Agreement With Iran

Both the region and Iran have taken on additional significance for the Kremlin after Western sanctions over Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine limited Russia’s foreign trade routes and forced it to look for markets outside Europe.

The new deal will eliminate customs duties on almost 90% of goods, while the agreement establishes a preferential regime for almost all trade between Russia and Iran.

Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said the deal would allow Russian business to save around 27 billion roubles ($294 million) each year.

($1 = 91.9825 roubles)

(Reporting by Reuters, writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Barbara Lewis)

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