Economy, Business And Markets

Russia, Iran to Make Payments in Nat’l Currencies

Russia, Iran to Make Payments in Nat’l Currencies Russia, Iran to Make Payments in Nat’l Currencies

Russia and Iran plan to create a mutual account for bilateral payments in national currencies, RIA news agency quoted Mehdi Sanaei, Iran’s ambassador to Moscow as saying.

Talks between the officials of the two sides for opening a joint payments account have been ongoing for the past six months, as they try to overcome the hurdles in doing so.

“Both sides plan to create a mutual bank or a mutual account to make payments in rials and rubles possible,” the ambassador said.

Iran and Russia are both under sanctions by the US, EU and in Iran’s case, by the UN too. This situation has accelerated their mutual cooperation on economic issues, as they try to curb the impact of sanctions.

The Iranian ambassador added that relations between Moscow and Tehran “are actively developing” and that 2014 was “a very fruitful year” for both countries.

The Iranian central bank deputy governor announced last week that it suspended the use of the US dollar in foreign trade transactions, adding that bilateral currency swap agreements were under consideration.

In November 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would quit the “dollar dictatorship,” switching to more widespread use of the ruble and the Chinese yuan in international transactions.

In late December, the Russian state agricultural watchdog said Moscow and Tehran could use their national currencies in food trade. UN sanctions prohibit arms trade with Iran but Moscow and Tehran cooperate in the fields of energy, industry, transport and agriculture.

 EEU Agreement

The ambassador also said that Tehran expects to sign a contract or memorandum of understanding in 2015 with the Eurasian Economic Union to begin exports to Russia.

“I think that in 2015 we need to work on this so that Iran has concrete economic contracts with the EEU… Iran plans to use this opportunity for its exports to Russia and other [countries],” Sanaei said.

“It’s possible that some sort of contract or memorandum of understanding would be signed,” the ambassador added.

 Meat, Dairy Exports

He also said that currently there are high tariffs on Iranian exports to Russia.

The Iranian ambassador expressed hope that his country’s producers will get approval to export dairy and meat products to Russia by March of this year.

“The first delivery of shrimp and trout to Russia was announced this week. All that remains is that companies that produce dairy and meat products also receive approval on the export of goods to Russia,” Sanaei said.

“I hope that will happen because it’s very important. We were promised that this would be resolved by the end of March,” the ambassador added.

 Visa-Free Regime

Moreover, Moscow and Tehran are considering the possibility of creating a visa-free regime between the two countries for businessmen and tourists in 2015, Sanaei told RIA Novosti on Tuesday. “It’s difficult for our businessmen to get a visa to Russia, especially a long-term visa, but we are happy that in 2014 our ministers [of foreign affairs], [Sergei] Lavrov and [Mohammad Javad] Zarif agreed on the easing of the visa regime, especially for businessmen and tourists,” Sanaei said.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding is one of the first steps in moving toward a visa-free regime between the two countries, he concluded.