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Russia, Iran to ditch dollar for ruble, rial

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov says Moscow is preparing to switch to national currencies in mutual trade with Iran.

Russia said on Saturday that it is preparing to switch to national currencies in mutual trade with Iran.

Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said the currency switch policy comes as trade between the two countries is expected to see a significant surge.

"Among other things, we do not rule out the possibility of settlements in rubles and rials, presuming that our trade volumes will be growing," Manturov has been quoted as saying in an interview with the local TV channel Rossiya 1.    

"Respectively, Iranian banks will acquire rubles that they will be able to use to pay for our products," he said.

Manturov had held negotiations on using the national currencies in bilateral trade during his visit to Tehran earlier this week, Interfax reported.

Last Tuesday, Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), was quoted by the media as saying that Tehran has completed the preparations for establishing a joint bank account with Russia to facilitate trade between the two countries in their own currencies.

Seif had reportedly told a visiting Russian delegation that both Tehran and Moscow need to create a mechanism to connect their banking sectors, stressing that this is necessary for bolstering trade ties between the two countries.

The idea to set up a joint bank account between Iran and Russia to handle trade in rials and rubles was first revealed by Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei earlier this year.

Later, Assadollah Asgaroladi, a veteran Iranian merchant and the chairman of Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce, said the bank could break the domination of Western currencies over bilateral exchanges and that it would eventually open a new chapter in trade relations between Tehran and Moscow.

In March, Iran and Russia signed a basic agreement to create a joint regulatory body to oversee interbank financial transactions between the two countries.

The agreement - that was signed between the Iranian and Russian central banks – took both countries one step closer toward the establishment of the promised joint bank - which is believed to have been specifically designed to help dodge the effects of US-led sanctions on the two countries. 

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