Iran’s special envoy Ali Akbar Velayati said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Kremlin plans to invest up to $50 billion in Iran’s oil and gas sector, and noted that Russian firms could replace Western oil companies that have left or are leaving Iran to comply with President Donald Trump’s demands that nations stop importing Iranian oil by November 4 or face sanctions.
According to Iran’s state-run Tasnim News Agency, “Velayati said one of Russia’s major oil companies has signed a $4-billion agreement with Iran, which will be implemented soon.”
Velayati added that two other large Russian oil companies, Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, have started negotiations with Iran. The two companies reportedly plan to sign agreements worth up to $10 billion.
Russia has reportedly increased trade with Iran by 36 percent in the first 4 months of 2018.
Prior to his meeting with Putin on Thursday, Tasnim said Velayati hailed the close interaction between Tehran and Moscow, specifically in the “war against terrorism, in international organizations, and in the military, economic, nuclear and security spheres signify their strategic and longstanding relations.”
On Tuesday, Iran’s Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri vowed that the Islamic Republic will “sell as much oil as we can” to protect Iran’s banking system, the financial lifeblood of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Jahangiri also acknowledging that the U.S.-imposed sanctions would hurt Iran’s economy.
“America seeks to reduce Iran’s oil sales, our vital source of income, to zero,” Jahangiri reportedly said. “We will make Americans understand this year that they cannot stop Iranian oil sales.”
Russia is also helping Iran with its nuclear ambitions. Russia has already helped Iran build a 1000-MW reactor.
In March, Iran threatened to produce higher enriched uranium within a 48-hour period if the United States exits the 2015 nuclear deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“If America pulls out of the deal … Iran could resume its 20 percent uranium enrichment in less than 48 hours,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said at the time.
Two months later President Donald Trump withdrew the United Staes from the nuclear accord.
On Thursday, Putin reportedly denounced America’s sanctions against Iran.