International Economic Forum Russia – Islamic World kicks off in Tatarstan; Taliban, Iran, Turkey among honored guests

The 15th International Economic Forum "Russia – Islamic World", known as the Kazan Forum, is underway in Tatarstan. The program features 125 thematic sessions across 12 different directions and will continue until 19 May.

The goal of the 15th Kazan Forum is "to provide a platform for leading international experts in economics and finance from the Islamic world to strengthen ties between member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Russian Federation in economic, educational, social, and cultural spheres." The forum also aims "to facilitate the development of Islamic financial institutions in Russia with a focus on joint international projects and programs."

Approximately 100 countries are expected to participate in the event, including representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and other OIC member states.

Among the guests is a Taliban delegation led by Afghanistan's acting Minister of Industry and Commerce, Nuriddin Azizi. Despite the Taliban being designated as a terrorist organization in Russia, since March 2022, diplomatic relations have been established between the RF and the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, with the accreditation of a diplomat.

According to the news outlet Baza, the Taliban delegation was unable to fly to Kazan on time due to a drone that attacked the capital of Tatarstan. Meanwhile, Davoud Mirzakhan, the Consul General of Iran in Kazan, detailed Iran's "active, multifaceted" participation in the Russian event, as reported by Tehran Times.

Mirzakhan mentioned that Russia had invited various Iranian delegations and confirmed the attendance of several senior Iranian officials, including the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran for Political Affairs. Additionally, he revealed that the summit's program includes a specialized session dedicated to discussing Iranian-Russian relations.

The Tehran Times reports that Russian officials have conveyed their greetings to participants and guests of the 15th International Economic Forum. In his message, President Putin stated, "Russia values its traditionally friendly ties with Muslim countries. We highly appreciate their commitment to pursue an independent foreign policy and increase their role in international affairs. Together we advocate the formation of a democratic multipolar world order based on the rule of law and principles of fairness, free from any form of dictatorship and discrimination. Naturally, we are also committed to expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas—from trade and investment to sports and tourism."

"I believe that the Forum’s work, as always, will be substantive and constructive and held in a spirit of openness and trust. It will further strengthen the friendship and creative partnership between our countries and peoples," he added.

  Russia, Taliban, Iran, Turkey