Putin Eyes Improved Trade

Putin Eyes Improved Trade
Putin Eyes Improved Trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is taking steps to improve trade turnover with Iran despite “foreign pressure”, adding that his country has made great efforts to diversify trade with its southern neighbor.  

Putin said in his annual end-of-year news conference, “We are exploring ways to expand trade cooperation with Iran,” underlining that “We have no limit regarding any sort of external pressure,” according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the Kremlin on Thursday. “We are cooperating in machinery and car construction besides oil and gas,” he noted.

Putin also said a visit to the Iranian capital Tehran is currently being discussed through diplomatic channels. “My trip to Tehran is possible; we are currently arranging it through diplomatic channels… I have been to Tehran. We have had regular meetings (with Iranian officials).”

Putin described sanctions against Russia as “illegitimate” and said Saudi Arabia and the US might have conspired to lower oil prices to harm Russia and Iran. Oil has lost nearly 50 percent of its value over the past six months as a result of declining demand and a supply glut.

The decline in oil prices was accelerated following the refusal of some major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, to cut their crude output.

  Oil Contract

Elsewhere, he said a solution was found to the Russian-Iranian oil contract, but some problems remained.

“We are sincerely seeking to implement the contract. Our energy minister (Alexander Novak) repeatedly visited Iran and invited his partners here.

“It was a very complicated process to find a compromise mutually acceptable solution. Finally, it has been found,” Putin said in reply to the question of an Iranian journalist asking about the slow progress in the implementation of the oil agreement between the two countries.

The Russian leader noted the implementation met with “difficulties”.

“There are problems with calculations. There are complex problems. But on the whole, we have settled it,” he said, adding that “both sides’ will is needed”, the Russian news agency TASS reported.

On the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, the president said the Iranian leadership has demonstrated “flexibility” in an effort to resolve the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“We are very close to the settlement of this problem (Iranian nuclear issue). The Iranian leadership is demonstrating great flexibility, I believe. And I do not understand why the final deal has not been inked yet. I hope it will happen in the near future,” Putin said. A permanent accord on Iran’s civilian nuclear work would benefit “economic ties between Tehran and Moscow,” added the Russian head of state.