Iran Eyes $7bn Russian Loan, Plans Sukuks

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak announced this week that Iran is seeking to obtain two Russian loans worth more than $7bn, of which $5bn will finance infrastructure projects.

His country and Iran are considering setting up a bank to finance joint projects, he adds. Mojtaba Khosrowtaj, Iran’s deputy industry minister confirms that high-level agreement was reached on these loans and that technical details only remain to be hammered out.

But Russia, whose economy is projected to contract by 3.8% in 2015 and 0.6% in 2016, according to the IMF, and is suffering from low oil prices and the cost of footing a growing military campaign in Syria, is hardly in a position to be generous with loans to its “ally” in the Middle East. But depending on the unfolding of the Syrian crisis, Russia may see its continued courting of Iran as a necessary ‘down payment’ towards guaranteeing a future regional role. (CONTINUED - 225 WORDS)