The top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin had been “very constructive and friendly” and that Moscow would invest in the Iranian oil sector.
“Our leader (Khamenei) values improving ties with Russia as strategic partner...This path will continue,” the adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, told Iranian state television.
The Kremlin said Putin and Velayati discussed the situation in Syria and bilateral relations and Velayati had given Putin messages from Khamenei and from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Russia, China and the big European powers say they still back a 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Iran, despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out and to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted as part of the accord.
“Putin reiterated that Russia rejects America’s decision to impose sanctions on Iran...He said Russia will stand by Iran and will defend Tehran’s rights,” Velayati said.
Under the 2015 agreement, Iran strictly limited uranium enrichment capacity to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions.
Tehran has been pushing hard to hold output steady amid US sanctions that are expected to hit its exports, pressuring other signatories of the deal to come up with a package of economic measures to salvage the deal.
“Putin said that Russia is prepared to continue its oil investment in Iran at the level of $50bn. It means Russia is ready to invest this amount in Iran’s oil sector,” Velayati said.
“This is an important amount that can compensate for those companies that have left Iran (amid US sanctions fear),” Velayati said, in a reference to a number of firms, wary of US sanctions, that have already said they plan to pull out of Iran’s market.
He said one of Russia’s major oil companies has signed a $4bn deal with Iran, which he said “will be implemented soon”, without elaborating.
“Two other major Russian oil companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, have started talks with Iran’s Oil Ministry to sign contracts worth up to $10bn,” Velayati added.
“Soon the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey will attend a summit in Tehran,” said Velayati, who is expected to visit China shortly.
Trump and Putin are expected to discuss Iran’s regional role and the Syrian conflict at a summit in Helsinki next Monday.
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