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Oil-for-goods deal with Iran may be legitimate — Russian finance minister

April 11, 2014, 15:23 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
Russia also conducts negotiations with Iran on increasing trade turnover between the two countries by means of cooperation in the energy sphere
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Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

WASHINGTON, April 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia recognizes only sanctions of the UN Security Council against Iran, thus the “oil-for-goods” deal may be legitimate, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters.

According to Siluanov, at bilateral talks US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said he had information about the possible participation of Russian companies in trade relations with Iran for the purchase of Iranian oil. “In this case, we act based on the decisions of the United Nations Organization that determine the sanctions, determine the type of goods on which the sanctions will be imposed, and we act within the framework of decisions adopted by international organizations,” Siluanov said.

“Our American partners had adopted their own legislation that somewhat differs from the decisions taken by the UN, and they monitor decisions adopted by them,” Siluanov said, adding that Lew had in mind American legislation, and not the UN Security Council decisions.

ITAR-TASS had previously reported with reference to the press service of the US Department of the Treasury that Lew expressed serious concern of the United States over the possible deal between Russia and Iran. He made it clear that this might entail sanctions against any organization or persons that were involved in such agreement. He referred to the use of measures, provided for by the US national legislation, in international relations.

Russia conducts negotiations with Iran on increasing trade turnover between the two countries by means of cooperation in the energy sphere, Russian Energy Minister Aleksander Novak had told ITAR-TASS before.

“The tenth meeting of the intergovernmental commission was held in Moscow at the beginning of last year. It was devoted, among other things, to various options of boosting trade turnover between our countries, the search for a financial scheme that would allow our companies to carry out the deliveries of various products to Iran - metallurgy, machine building products and power engineering equipment. In addition, Russia’s participation in the construction of power plants in Iran and participation in the joint field development is on the agenda. We regard this in the context of increasing our trade turnover and possible expansion of our companies’ presence on the Iranian market,” Novak said.

According to the Russian energy minister, “this gives a possibility to our companies to develop and restore our trade at the level that had existed before the introduction of sanctions. Therefore, this issue is now important.”

He added that Russia’s trade-economic turnover with Iran is currently declining - in 2013 it decreased by 31% to $1.59 billion. At the same time, the export of Russian products decreased by some 38.6% to 1.16 $billion. The reason for this is tougher economic sanctions that the United States and European Union had introduced in the middle of 2012 (banning the EU import of and trade in Iranian oil and petroleum products, as well as sanctions against the Iranian financial sector).

Reuters reported after the New Year holidays that Russia was in negotiations with Iran on the supplies of Iranian oil to the Asia-Pacific countries in exchange for goods. The volume of oil supplies could reach 20 million tons per year, totalling $20 billion.

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