Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan said trading between Iran and Russia in their national currencies is an important step to counter the unilateral sanctions of the United States.
"Currently 25 percent of trade exchanges between the two countries are being conducted in the rial and ruble and this trend will continue," Dzhagaryan told Iran’s national TV during an interview on Saturday night.
Dzhagaryan noted that there are “banking and monetary problems as well as the lack of familiarity of the two countries' businessmen with the capabilities and capacities of the two countries” but Iran and Russia are trying to overcome the challenges as soon as possible.
He said Russia and Iran are determined to deal with unilateral US sanctions, but no European measures have been in place to counter US sanctions against Iran, and so far no action has been taken.
The Russian envoy pointed to the European Union’s special purpose vehicle (SPV) by Europe, and said, "The European countries just talk about establishing such a mechanism, but they have not yet implemented anything."
The SPV would act as a clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports to purchases of EU goods, circumventing US sanctions which are based on the global use of the dollar for oil trading. It is expected to go operational early next year.
France and Germany are to take joint responsibility for the EU-Iran trade mechanism to minimize the risk of US punishment.
France, Germany and Britain – European signatories to world powers’ 2015 deal with Iran that curbed its nuclear program – have scrambled to come up with measures to preserve its economic benefits for Tehran after US President Donald Trump denounced the accord as weak and withdrew from it in May.
The United States restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil, banking and transportation sectors in early November.
In response to the question about how Russia will stand to protect Iran against US sanctions, Dzhagaryan said, "The national will of Russia and (President Vladimir) Putin is that we consider unilateral sanctions against Iran illegal.”
Boosting private sectors
Chairmen of the Iranian and Russian chambers of commerce agreed to cooperate on annual Iran-Russia trade conference, urging the governments in Tehran and Moscow to shore up to the private sectors in the climate of sanctions.
Chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce Gholamhossein Shafei and his Russian counterpart Sergey Katyrin, in a meeting in Tehran, exchanged views on mutual coordination for holding annual Iran-Russia Trade Conference.
Noting that holding the event plays a crucial role in strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries, Katyrin said that last year’s conference hosted by Iran brought suitable feedbacks from the participants.
He further maintained that oil and gas, agriculture, foodstuff, transportation and logistics are among the topics which can be discussed during the upcoming Iran-Russia Trade Conference.
Shafei said that US sanctions have created new conditions for the two countries’ economic activists which should be used.
During the meeting, it was also agreed to hold Iran-Russian Trade Conference in Saratov, Russia, in July 2019.
Fars and Reuters contributed to this story.