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Iran’s oil minister rejects oil barter with Russia

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has rejected reaching any agreement with Russia to barter oil in return for staple goods, the Islamic Republic Mehr news agency reported on Dec. 10.

Zanganeh was reacting to new reports quoting Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying Moscow plans to sign contracts with Iran to start delivering grain and industrial products to Tehran in return for oil.

“We did not sign any contract to do oil barter with Russia,” the Iranian minister said.

Ulyukayev during his visit to Tehran later in November expressed hope that a deal could be reached in this regard in the near future, adding that the central banks of Russia and Iran are working on ways to start making payments in the two countries’ national currencies and preparatory work has already begun to achieve this goal.

Zanganeh said that Iran and Russia only will cooperate in gas and oil industry:
“Russian companies will provide Iran ’s oil and gas industry with technical and operational support.”

Early in August, Russia and Iran signed a Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) for a period of five years, signaling a sharp intensification in economic cooperation between the two countries. The document lays the foundation for a comprehensive multi-billion dollar deal for trade in the oil sector between the two nations.

The two sides signed four MoU on Sept. 9 for cooperation in oil and gas, petrochemical, industry and mine sector, including a MoU between Iran International Petrochemical Company and the Russian Gas Stroll to build a fertilizer plant.

It was previously reported that the two sides would discuss bartering goods for petrochemical products and chemical catalysts.

The US and EU have imposed an array of embargoes on Russian individuals and businesses over the crisis in Ukraine. They accuse Moscow of supporting anti-Kiev protesters in eastern and southern Ukraine.

The US and its European allies have also imposed sanctions against Iran over Tehran ’s disputed nuclear activities.