Baku, Azerbaijan, March 17
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap contract, Russia's Ambassador to Iran, Levan Jagarian said, the Iranian ISNA news agency reported on March 17.
The ambassador went on to say that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to sign a contract.
The issue is important for Russia, Jagarian said, adding that the content of the contract is very complex so the two sides are continuing to discuss it.
The diplomat expressed the hope that the swap contract will be signed as soon as possible.
Originally Reuters reported on Jan. 10 that Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap which would allow Iran to lift its oil exports substantially.
Reuters said Russian and Iranian sources close to the negotiations said final details were under discussion for a barter deal that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.
On Jan 11, Manager of the Iranian Oil Ministry's public relations department, Akbar Nematollahi dismissed reports on an Iran-Russia oil-for-goods deal.
Without getting into details, Nematollahi said no agreement had been made between the countries.
At the same time, head of the import department of the Iranian Customs Administration, Foroud Asgari told Fars news agency on Jan. 11, it is not yet clear what kind of goods Iran will import from Russia.
Asgari said the goods will be determined after the final agreement. He also added that Iran's Customs Administration has not yet received any memo or note about the issue.
Considering that U.S. and European sanctions have significantly decreased Iran's oil, Russia's purchases of 500,000 bpd of Iranian crude would lift Iran's oil exports by approximately 50 percent and provide a major fillip to its struggling economy.
Early in February, the US under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said that an oil-for-goods swap between Russia and Iran would not go ahead for now after the United States raised concerns with both Tehran and Moscow, warning it could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
"We are crystal clear that anything like such an agreement between Russia and Iran might have potential sanction able action and would likely create a tremendous risk within the P5+1 which would make coming to a comprehensive agreement all the more difficult if not impossible," she added.
Edited by S.M.