Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zanganeh (file photo)

Iran seriously expanding Russia trade ties

Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran seriously plans to forge “long-term” economic relations with Russia which, like the Islamic Republic, is under Western sanctions.

“We want to have long-term economic relations with the Russians. Our plan is to seriously expand economic and technical ties with Russia,” he told the news weekly Seda (Voice) published on Saturday.

“There is political will at the highest level in Iran to expand economic relations with Russia. I also think it is good to develop Iran’s economic ties with Russia, China, India and emerging economic states,” Zangeneh said.

The minister said Iran and Russia plan to cooperate on implementation of development projects and trade of goods, but there are also other areas for business.

“We can work with the Russians to implement railway projects and part of the work in power plants. We can buy some oil equipment and basic goods from the Russians. They have also some technologies in the mining sector.”

Iran and Russia have recently decided to start shipment of the Iranian oil to the market. The arrangement is for Russia to sell 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day.

Zangeneh said under the agreement, Iran is about to get cash and Russian goods and services for the oil which is sold.

On Monday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that it was too early to talk about the start. Russian officials meanwhile retracted their earlier announcement that they had begun grain sales to Iran.

Iranians generally view Russia with caution because of their uneasy past.

Zangeneh, however, said, “The Russians do not have the history of unconventional economic activities like those by the Westerners in any area while in some areas, their work is acceptable and good.”

Officials say a new chapter has begun in trade ties amid stepped-up commercial relationship to counter Western sanctions.

For its part, Iran has prepared three ports in the Caspian Sea and added six ships to its fleet for cargo trade with Russia following an agreement signed in March.

It has created a capacity to carry up to 6,500 metric tons of freight per year in the Caspian Sea, local media have said.

By Press TV