Fwd: Iran

'Then there's the oil-for-goods deal, which has been under discussion for about a year and may already have started. It would involve supplies of about 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian food and industrial goods, bringing back about half of the export volume that Iran lost because of international sanctions. Such a deal wouldn't violate the UN sanctions against Iran, and can circumvent financial sector restrictions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union by using barter. In recent days, Russian officials have said the swap is taking place.

Iran won't confirm or deny the arrangement, possibly because the U.S. is worried about it and stepping up cooperation with Russia in this way could jeopardize the multilateral deal and so delay the easing of international sanctions. Yet Russia's willingness to get involved in the swaps is another signal to the Iranian regime that, while Western nations are still hesitant to rekindle ties with them, Russia is open to big energy deals immediately, even before anything is settled on the nuclear issue…

Doing more business with Iran wherever possible should also help Putin build a political alliance with a major Middle Eastern regional player, cemented by the strong anti-Americanism in both Moscow and Tehran. '


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