Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable Iran to lift oil exports substantially, undermining Western sanctions that helped persuade Tehran in November to agree to a preliminary deal to curb its nuclear program. Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a deal under which Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods. “Good progress is being made at the moment with strong chances of success,” said a Russian source.
“We are discussing the details, and the date of signing a deal depends on those details.” The Kremlin declined comment. “Our desire is to sign the deal as soon as possible,” said a senior Iranian official, who declined to be named. “Our officials are discussing the matter with the Russians and hopefully it will be inked soon, regardless of whether we can reach a (nuclear) agreement in Geneva.” It is not clear whether the deal would be implemented before the finalization of a nuclear agreement outlined in Geneva in November between Iran and six world powers. Nor is it clear how Russia would justify to other powers a barter deal that could jeopardize the nuclear negotiations by easing the economic pressure on Iran. More