Iran Downplays Prospects for Russian Energy Pact

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 15, 2014, 7:56 a.m.

An Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cial said Rus­si­an en­ergy-trade talks faced an up­hill battle, amid glob­al fears about pos­sible im­plic­a­tions for nuc­le­ar sanc­tions, Re­u­ters re­ports.

“The ne­go­ti­ation is con­tinu­ing” between Mo­scow and Tehran, Ir­a­ni­an Deputy Oil Min­is­ter Ali Ma­jedi said in Monday com­ments quoted by the wire agency. He ad­ded, though, that the dis­cus­sion “is very dif­fi­cult be­cause both coun­tries are pro­du­cers and ex­port­ers of oil and gas.”

The of­fi­cial raised the con­cern as the sides dis­cussed a range of trade op­tions, in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial pact un­der which Rus­sia could swap non­mon­et­ary as­sets for as much as 500,000 bar­rels of Ir­a­ni­an oil each day.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has said such an ar­range­ment would run counter to lan­guage in a six-month deal it hopes will set the stage for longer-term lim­its on Ir­an’s weapon-us­able nuc­le­ar op­er­a­tions. Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies are try­ing to main­tain eco­nom­ic pres­sure against Tehran as they bar­gain over what nuc­le­ar re­stric­tions the Per­sian Gulf power could ac­cept in ex­change for sanc­tions re­lief.

Ma­jedi said, “Rus­sia is a pro­du­cer and ex­port­er of oil … [and] there is no way that Ir­an will re­ceive some of the oil from Rus­sia. Maybe vice-versa, maybe. But not now.”

The deputy oil min­is­ter ad­ded that his coun­try ex­pects to hold its daily pet­ro­leum sales to oth­er coun­tries at roughly 1 mil­lion bar­rels in­to Ju­ly, when the in­ter­im atom­ic ac­cord is cur­rently slated to lapse, Bloomberg re­por­ted. Ir­an’s pro­duc­tion of un­re­fined oil now stands at ap­prox­im­ately 2.7 mil­lion bar­rels each day, he said.

West­ern powers have set a 1 mil­lion-bar­rel lim­it on Ir­an’s av­er­age daily ex­ports for the six-month pact’s full dur­a­tion which, if ex­ceeded, could trig­ger new sanc­tions. Sales re­portedly have topped the an­ti­cip­ated cap since the deal took ef­fect in Janu­ary, but the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has said it ex­pects Ir­an’s ship­ments ul­ti­mately to fall with­in agreed bound­ar­ies un­der the pact.

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