Iran and Russia are negotiating an agreement that provides for the exchange of raw goods worth $1,500 million per month. The agreement would allow Iran to increase its oil exports despite Western sanctions that contributed to the signing of the preliminary agreement to halt its nuclear program.
Sources close to the negotiations confirmed the the final details are under discussion. According to those details, Moscow would buy – despite its own production – about 500,000 barrels per day from Iran in exchange for Russian goods and equipment.
“At the moment things are moving well and towards success,” said a Russian source. “The parts are now discussing the date for the final signature,” he added, while the Kremlin has avoided comment.
Meanwhile, an Iranian official has clarified that the objective is to “sign the agreement as soon as possible,” insisting that “officials are discussing the issue with the Russians and hopefully will be signed soon, whether we reach an agreement in Geneva or not.”
It is unknown whether the agreement would be implemented before the enactment of the nuclear deal outlined in the Swiss city in November between Iran and six world powers.
It is also unclear how Moscow intends to justify to its negotiating partners the latest agreement with Iran, which according to western analysts, could endanger the nuclear negotiations .
U.S. and European sanctions have cut Iran’s oil exports by more than half in the past 18 months. Currently, Iran exports only one million barrels per day. Meanwhile, Russia has not taken action against Tehran even though it is one of the countries involved in nuclear negotiations. This says a lot to the rest of the world; it says that Russia sees its future as an Iranian partner, not as an adversary.
“Iran must find a way to accommodate more exports, this is the reason behind this deal,” said an Iranian official . “Both sides should put effort into this. Russia can guarantee a lot of trade with its neighbor and Iran can overcome its difficulties to export,” he added.
Most Iranian oil is exported to Asia. China, the largest buyer, imported about 420,000 barrels per day in 2013. Unlike other buyers of oil from Iran, Beijing has not cut its purchases, despite U.S. efforts in this regard.
Washington pressures have been more successful with other major buyers of Iranian crude in Asia such as Japan, South Korea and India, which have slashed their imports. Turkey and South Africa have also reduced or even eliminated their imports.