A top advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran is in deals with Russia and Kazakhstan to swap crude oil produced by them with its own crude oil for the purpose of delivery to customers in the Persian Gulf.
Ali Akbar Velayati said on Saturday that the oil swap deals with Russia and Kazakhstan is in line with Iran’s policies to improve its access to energy supply sources in various parts of the country.
“We receive oil from Russia and Kazakhstan via the Caspian Sea to use it for domestic consumption and then we deliver oil in the same quantity to their customers in the south,” Velayati said in an interview with Khamenei.ir.
Iranian Foreign Ministry authorities had announced in early July that Iran would engage in swap deals with Russia and Kazakhstan.
However, there has been no official announcement confirming that swap operations have actually started.
Velayati is a veteran diplomat who served as Iranian foreign minister for more than 15 years from 1981 to 1997. He is Ayatollah Khamenei’s top advisor on international issues.
His statement comes days after the National Iranian Oil Company and Russia’s state petroleum company Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on joint projects with an investment of nearly $40 billion.
Iranian and Russian officials have described the deal as historic and unprecedented but they have not indicated if the agreement would cover swap of crude oil.
The statement also comes amid Russia’s efforts to counter a series of American and European sanctions that have targeted its energy exports since it started a military operation in Ukraine in February.