TEHRAN, April 7 (UPI) -- The director of the National Iranian Oil Co. said talks with Russia for a deal to swap oil for goods have taken on a serious tone.
NIOC Director Roknoddin Javadi said Russian tankers could start taking on Iranian oil from southern ports under the terms of a deal that would see more Russian goods imported in exchange.
"We are engaged in negotiations with the Russian side (on reverse crude swap)," he said in an interview published Sunday by the semiofficial Fars News Agency. "The negotiations are continued seriously but the time for the start of the swap operation has not been finalized yet."
Iran and Russia are close partners in Iran's controversial nuclear sector.
Iran has touted its potential for oil exports since brokering an interim deal in November to roll back parts of its nuclear program. Iran in return secured modest relief from economic sanctions, though the U.S. government has said Iran's energy sector isn't yet open for business.
FNA reports Iran started oil-for-goods swaps with littoral states in the Caspian Sea region in 2000, though those trade deals were suspended under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
[Fars News Agency]