Russia to partner with Iran for backdoor oil sales – report

Top Russian trade and finance officials, including executives from the state-owned Gazprom energy company, visited Iran in July.

By World Israel News Staff

Russia is planning to leverage its relationship with Iran as a strategy for working around sanctions, should Tehran ink a nuclear deal with the West, according to a report from Politico.

Crude oil is a major revenue source for Russia, and sweeping sanctions on the country have greatly restricted Moscow’s potential buyers.

But should Iran agree to a nuclear deal with the West, Russia could theoretically sell crude oil to Iran, which Iran would then refine and sell to the rest of the world.

In exchange for a promise to curb its nuclear program, harsh years-long sanctions on Iran could be lifted in the relatively near future, which would see billions in previously frozen foreign funds and trade deals pour into the Islamic Republic.

“Iran is a good partner in this endeavor,” a Western diplomat told Politico. “Russia has a difficulty and Iran has a capability.”

The two countries are already engaged in oil swaps, which see them purchase and sell oil to each other in a mutually-beneficial arrangement.

Top Russian trade and finance officials, including executives from the state-owned Gazprom energy company, visited Iran in July. Russian President Vladimir Putin also visited the country in late July.

“We receive oil from Russia and Kazakhstan via the Caspian Sea to use it for domestic consumption and then we deliver oil in the same quantity to their customers in the south,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy adviser to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, told state-owned Fars News Agency shortly after Putin’s trip to Iran.

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Shortly afterwards, Iran sent its own delegation to Moscow, which included Iranian central bank chief Ali Saleh Abadi, Deputy Economy Minister Ali Fekri, and the Iranian parliament’s economy committee head, Mohammad Reza Pour Ebrahimi.

Although Moscow and Tehran appear to be growing closer, tensions over Syria could put a damper on the burgeoning friendship between the two countries.

Russia has de facto control over Syria’s airspace, and has essentially allowed Israel to carry out systematic airstrikes on Iranian assets in the country.

In recent months, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has started to vocally criticize Israeli airstrikes in the country, perhaps signaling the strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran.