The implementation of Iran-Russia energy agreements holds the key to expansion of bilateral relations in other economic spheres, Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow says.
At a meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow, Mehdi Sanaei underlined the importance of the current year for promotion of Iran-Russia cooperation and called for the implementation of oil, gas and electricity deals signed between the two sides.
Sanaei also expressed Tehran’s willingness to purchase electricity from Russia and use the country’s assistance in the construction of thermal power plants and renovation of two power stations in central and southwestern Iran.
Novak, who heads the Russian side of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Commission, pointed to President Vladimir Putin’s determination for the implementation of bilateral agreements with Iran.
He noted that Russia’s Foreign Ministry has adopted the required measures in that respect and is making the arrangements for a visit by a Russian delegation to Iran and the drafting of a memorandum of understanding for the 11th meeting of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Commission in Tehran.
Iran-Russia trade currently totals USD 5 billion a year, but economists say the two countries can at least quadruple the volume of their trade exchanges.
On April 6, Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Rokneddin Javadi said Tehran and Moscow are engaged in serious negotiations to launch a south-north reverse oil swap project, adding, however, that the time for the start of the swap operation has not been finalized yet.
Earlier this month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the Islamic Republic is determined to raise the volume of its “economic transactions” with Russia under long-term deals.
A few American senators are pushing for anti-Iran sanctions should Tehran and Moscow proceed with the oil swap deal.