The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Islamic Republic of Iran to the Russian Federation, SPbU Professor Mehdi Sanaei has visited SPbU to read an open lecture to the students on the Iran-Russia relations in the context of today’s global changes and to meet SPbU Rector Nikolay Kropachev.

For the last several years, the relations between Iran and Russia have been on the rise, said the Ambassador. Iran-Russia relations are mainly concerned with the state affairs and politics, while more emphasis should laid on science and culture, not only diplomacy, said Mehdi Sanaei.

The evidence that our relations are on the rise is an increasing number of tourists from Iran to Russia: in 2013, this number was 7,000 that increased up to 100,000 in 2017 due to relaxing visa entry requirements for travellers. Moreover, the Association of Higher Education Institutions of Iran and Russia offers academic exchange for students and staff that has a positive effect on increasing the number of students from Iran who pursue education in Russia.

The number of students who are enrolled on the additional educational programmes has increased up to 65 students, while the number of students involved in the Russian-Iranian international mobility programmes has increased up to 10 students a year.

Among the key regional projects is the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The member-states are Russia, Iran, India, and others. The Ambassador also mentioned a recently signed free-trade agreement between the EAEU and Iran that will reduce or remove trade barriers and increase trade of goods.

Mehdi Sanaei told about the USA quitting the Iran nuclear deal: “It means we can not rely on them. Every new president can change everything. It is a threat for the world peace”. If Iran’s economic interests are not taken into account by the state-members, Iran is ready to discuss other scenarios on the nuclear deal, said the Ambassador.

The Ambassador shared his experience of how he read the lecture to the students. The students asked thought-provoking questions and were actively engaged in the dialogue with the lecturer. He told that he hoped he could read lectures on a regular basis, but it seemed quite a challenge as he had an incredibly busy schedule.

Nikolay Kropachev thanked him for visiting the University and told that since 2016, when Mehdi Sanaei was awarded Professor of St Petersburg University, the dynamics of relations between scientists and scholars had become more positive.

We are glad that these changes are related to how we communicate and apply our knowledge and expertise in practice. They are just formalities.

SPbU Rector Nikolay Kropachev

SPbU opened a Research Centre of Islamic Republic of Iran, signed agreements on collaboration with the University of Teheran and Sharif University of Technology. We have increased a number of joint publications and index of citation.

“I am glad that we have achieved the aims that we identified during our first meeting, — said Mehdi Sanaei. — I am always trying to ensure that what we have agreed on would be not just on paper, but in reality”. Two students from Iran who graduated from SPbU and prepared their graduation theses under his scientific supervision, as he told, have returned to work with the universities in Iran. Yet there are some issues that the partners have to deal with: for example, how to invite lecturers from Iran to teach Farsi to our students in Iranian studies.

Rector suggested they should prepare an on-line course on Farsi and become members of the council of educational programme in Iranian Philology. Moreover, Mehdi Sanaei can read his lectures to our students on-line. Mehdi Sanaei, in his turn, suggested we should implement a joint project to prepare a monument that would be designed by our students to make a tribute to a famous Iranian public figure who graduated from the University. Besides, they are interested in preparing an illustrated book on the Russian-Iranian relations. Nikolay Kropachev promised to discuss these ideas.

Nikolay Kropachev is planning to visit the University of Teheran: SPbU is interested in collaborating with the institutions in Iran that can provide opportunities for research in Iran.