Russia considering investment in Iran’s oil industry: Novak

September 6, 2019

TEHRAN - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak says Moscow is mulling over investment in Iran's oil industry, which is currently the target of U.S. sanctions aimed at driving the country’s oil exports to zero.

As reported by IRNA, Novak made the remarks in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Thursday.

Several senior officials from the Asian countries including India, Japan, Malaysia, and Mongolia attended the forum along with Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin.

Oil- and gas-rich Russia would undertake such a plan with Iran "primarily for the development of the oil sector," Novak said.

Novak met in Moscow earlier this week with Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian.

Ardakanian was quoted afterward as saying that Russians were considering some $10 billion in investment into Iran's oil sector.

Ardakanian and his Russian counterpart stressed accelerating the implementation of the two countries’ joint projects in a meeting in Moscow on September 2.

The officials, who co-chair the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee, also discussed the agreements reached during the 15th Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee meeting which was held in Tehran and Isfahan in mid-June.

Construction of a 1,400-megawatt thermal power plant in Hormozgan province in southern Iran by Russian government’s funding, and the project for electrification of the 495-km Garmsar-Inche Boroun railway that links the city of Garmsar, in north of the Iranian capital Tehran, with the Iranian city of Inche-Boroun, on the border with Turkmenistan, were among the joint projects that were discussed during the meeting.

In the meeting, Novak expressed satisfaction with the completion of Iran's internal legal processes for joining the Eurasian Economic Union, saying "According to the agreements, the free trade agreement between Iran and Eurasia [Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)] is due to go operational on October 26.”

The statements come amid a tightening of U.S. pressure on Tehran through trade and economic sanctions reimposed after Donald Trump withdrew the United States last year from a three-year-old nuclear between Iran and world powers.

Iran this week announced it was taking a "third step" to scale back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, whose signatories include Russia and China, in addition to France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

EF/MA

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