(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday that an oil-for-goods barter deal between Russia and Iran was being implemented and said all legal barriers had been removed to Moscow supplying S-300 missile systems to Tehran.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to give any details of the barter deal. But asked whether a senior Foreign Ministry official was correct when he said on Monday that the exchange had begun, Peskov told reporters: "Absolutely. Of course."
A senior government official said separately that Russia has started supplying grain, equipment and construction materials to Iran in exchange for crude oil under a barter deal.
Sources told Reuters more than a year ago that a deal worth up to $20 billion was being discussed and would involve Russia buying up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day.
"I wanted to draw your attention to the rolling out of the oil-for-goods deal, which is on a very significant scale," Ryabkov told a briefing with members of the upper house of parliament on the talks with Iran.
"In exchange for Iranian crude oil supplies, we are delivering certain products. This is not banned or limited under the current sanctions regime."
Peskov also said no legal barriers remained to supplying the advanced Russian air defense system S-300 to Iran after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday lifting a ban on such deliveries.
Israel on Monday warned that Russia’s decision to lift its five-year ban on the delivery of S-300 air-defense missile system to Iran proves that the deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program will only strengthen it militarily.
“Instead of demanding that Iran desist from the terrorist activity that it is carrying out in the Middle East and throughout the world, it is being allowed to arm itself with advanced weapons that will only increase its aggression,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Monday.
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ending a self-imposed ban on delivering the S-300 missile system to Iran, removing a major irritant between the two, after Moscow canceled a corresponding contract in 2010 under pressure from the West. Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.