IRAN & RUSSIA: $ 20 BLN TALKS
Iran and Russia are in talks to finalize an oil barter agreement irrespective of the outcome of Tehran's nuclear talks with six world powers, a senior Iranian official says.
"Talks are underway between Tehran and Moscow to reach a final oil barter deal regardless of the progress of talks between Iran and the P5+1 members," Ali Majedi, Iran's deputy oil minister for international and trade affairs, said on Sunday.
Majedi rejected claims by certain circles that Iran-Russia oil barter talks were suspended because of the progress of nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
Iran and the six countries have been discussing ways to sort out their differences and achieve a final deal that would end the decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear energy program. The two sides sealed an interim deal in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 23, 2013.
Majedi stressed that officials from Iran and Russia are working on oil barter to get a desired result.
Tehran and Moscow are serious about the oil barter plan, he said, adding that details of the final agreement have not been finalized yet.
Iran would have to deliver oil to Russia at the Islamic Republic's southern ports as it is not possible to ship crude to Russia via the Caspian Sea, he noted.
Earlier in April, Reuters reported that Iran and Russia were close to sealing a USD 20-billion oil-for-commodities deal.
Under the agreement, which is yet to be finalized, Russia will buy 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day in return for goods.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in April that the Islamic Republic is determined to raise the volume of its economic transactions with Russia under long-term deals.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, who co-chairs the permanent Russian-Iranian commission on trade and economic cooperation, said the agreement on trade and industrial cooperation with Iran was due in September, according to Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency.
However, Novak did not specify, whether the oil-for-goods deal would be included in the agreement.
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