Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on 10 February signed an energy agreement in Moscow, which could see Russia supply oil and gas equipment to the isolated Iranian oil sector and Russian firms develop oil and gas fields in Iran. Signed at the conclusion of the 10th Russian-Iranian Joint Economic Commission meeting, it includes cooperation in energy, oil, gas, petrochemicals, electricity, water and renewable energy, Iranian news agencies reported. “Today’s session was a new page in our relations with Russia,” Mr Salehi said. While it remains to be seen if any concrete action will follow, of interest was the admission that Russian banks are financing Iranian oil exports, currently subjected to US and EU sanctions.

“Large [banks] are not taking part. Small ones are, yes” because of sanctions, Mr Novak was reported as saying by Reuters. Iran’s oil sector has come under intense financial pressure since EU sanctions came into force last July. Lately, Iran’s oil service sector has struggled even to pay Chinese for equipment (MEES, 18 January). (CONTINUED - 285 WORDS)