A close-up image of an Iranian 10,000 rial bank note and a Russian 100 ruble bank note. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, revealed on 24 August that entities in the two countries have started conducting trade in their national currencies for the first time.
The transactions were reportedly handled by the Russian Central Bank’s Mir system, according to Iranian state media. No further details were provided about the transactions.
On the same day, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji revealed that Iran and Russia are “very close” to signing a gas swap deal, after a meeting with a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Owji, a senior official of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) will be traveling soon to Moscow to sign the deal.
“The gas purchase and swap [agreement] with Russia has been finalized and it will be signed in the near future in Moscow between the NIGC and the Russian side,” the Iranian minister of oil said.
Iran is set to import gas from Russia and use it for domestic consumption. On the other hand, Iran will deliver the same amount to customers at other parts of their borders.
According to the minister, the two-hour meeting with Igor Levitin, a senior aide to the Russian president, was very fruitful. Reportedly both sides discussed the following steps to take in the road ahead for several joint projects.
Iran and Russia have been increasing their bilateral cooperation over recent months, as a means to overcome crippling western sanctions.
Last month, Gazprom, the Russian state-owned multinational energy corporation, signed a $40 billion investment agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to develop several of Iran’s gas and oil fields.
On 9 August, Russia launched the Iranian Earth observation satellite “Khayyam.” Iran said that the satellite launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan would help monitor the country’s borders and help with the response to natural disasters.
The Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Issa Zarepour, said that the launching “is the start of a strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia in the space industry.”
Meanwhile, the head of the banking and insurance department of the Iranian Finance Ministry, Qorban Eskandari, stated last week that Iran is just months away from joining Russia’s Mir payment system.