Russian officials on Monday denied claims that Russia has started an oil-for-goods swap with Iran, stating that it is too soon to start trading, contradicting reports that Moscow has already begun the trade.
According to Russia Today, Russian president Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov previously confirmed on April 12 that the deal between Tehran and Moscow was “absolutely” real and had already begun.
In another report published by Bloomberg on Friday, Iranian energy minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that Russia may start importing crude oil from Iran within the next week as part of a deal discussed with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak during a trip to Australia on June 3.
“Much of this will be for cash and we will be using this money to buy commodities from the Russians,” Zanganeh said.
Without disclosing further information, Zanganeh added that Russia and Iran might work together in different projects in exchange for oil.
Supporting Zanganeh’s statement, Alexey Alekseyenko, the head assistant at the food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor, said on Monday that deliveries of grain to Iran have begun and could pave the road for the trade deal.
“Yes, deliveries began a few days ago. 100,000 tons have already been shipped at the moment,” Alekseyenko told RIA Novosti.
However, on Monday, the Russian energy minister contradicted all statements when he said that Russia will “definitely” not import crude oil from Iran.
“The talks on cooperation aimed at expansion of trade turnover between the two countries, including the energy sector, are really under way but it is prematurely to speak about the start of oil deliveries from the Islamic Republic,” Novak said, according to TASS news agency.
Although confusion on whether or not the deal will go ahead continues, Russia and Iran have been discussing and negotiating on the possibility of Russian companies purchasing Iranian oil in exchange for goods since 2014.
If the swap deal goes ahead Iran will be shipping 500,000 barrels of oil a day via Caspian Sea ports.