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                                        Volume. 11958

Concern over increased Iran-Russia cooperation illogical, Tehran says
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_am3(82).jpgTEHRAN – An Iranian Foreign Ministry official has said that certain countries’ concern over increased cooperation between Tehran and Moscow is illogical. 
 
“Cooperation between Iran and Russia, as two independent countries, has taken its normal course, and (the opportunity to) use the potential in various areas has attracted the attention of the two countries’ economic officials and businessmen,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Saturday in response to U.S. officials’ recent remarks about a reported oil-for-goods deal between Iran and Russia.  
 
“The two neighboring countries naturally and based on international rules, commitments, and legal principles try to use every potential to increase their cooperation in order to expand their political, economic, trade, and cultural relations in various areas,” she said. 
 
According to Reuters, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday told his Russian counterpart that any oil-for-goods deal Moscow might strike with Iran could run afoul of U.S. sanctions.  
 
Lew also said that such a deal would run counter to an interim nuclear deal Iran and the major powers reached in Geneva last year.
 
A senior Russian diplomat on Wednesday angrily rejected U.S. warnings against striking an oil-for-goods contract with Iran, saying that Moscow would not be intimidated by threats, the Associated Press reported. 
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that an increase in Russian-Iranian trade is a “natural process that doesn’t involve any elements of political or economic challenge to anyone.”
 
Russian business daily Kommersant has reported that Moscow plans to buy 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, a deal that would shatter an export limit defined by the interim nuclear agreement.
 
AM/PA

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