Russia-Iran ‘oil for goods’ program to launch soon - minister

Russia-Iran ‘oil for goods’ program to launch soon - minister
Deliveries of Russian goods in exchange for Iranian oil will begin soon, according to Russia’s minister of economic development. He says the two countries are also working on a plan to trade in national currencies.

Aleksey Ulyukayev said grain is a primary commodity, while other goods on the list are being negotiated.

“We can export a big volume of our non-raw materials exports, such as equipment for the oil and gas industry, agricultural machinery, motor vehicles, aircraft, railway cars, power machines, electricity generators,” he said. “Russia can receive a serious portfolio of orders for machine-building, for industries with high added value.”

READ MORE: Russia ready to help Iran trade, but not buy oil - Energy Minister

Another aspect of Russia-Iran relations would extend to switching mutual payments in national currencies in the future.

"Mechanisms of using national currencies in mutual relations [between Russia and Iran]… that involve lending in national currencies and using contracts in national currencies should be established. The central banks [of both countries] should focus on this, and they have already started working on it," Ulyukayev said, adding that the terms are not determined yet.

Also, Russia said that it will be assisting Iran with its application to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a joint Russia-Iran memorandum released on Sunday.

"The Iranian party asked to use the Russian experience and to receive the necessary assistance in Iran's joining the WTO. The Russian party agreed to provide the necessary assistance," the document said.

Russia-Iran trade turnover has been decreasing over recent years, falling 31.5 percent in 2013.

In the past, the two countries have developed close ties after years of cooperation in various fields, including nuclear energy projects.

For example, Russia took part in constructing the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which was completed in 2013. Following the construction, Russia guaranteed its operation for two years, with Russian experts staying on hand to advise personnel and provide technical support.

Russia’s latest involvement comes in a form of a new agreement - Moscow is to build eight nuclear power units in Iran.

READ MORE: Russia, Iran sign nuclear construction deal for 8 units

According to the agreement, Russia is to construct eight units with pressurized water reactors ‘turn-key ready’ in Iran. Four of these will be built at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.