PHOTO: Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak


Amid challenges over its economy and the energy sector, Iran is hailing a visit by Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Monday.

The outlets are proclaiming that Iran is “determined to take its cooperation with Moscow in the area of energy to a new level”.

Both countries are facing pressure on their economies, amid continuing US sanctions, and are looking for way to cope with low global oil prices.

Since January’s implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran has recovered much of its pre-2012 level of oil production and exports, but it has struggled to confirm foreign investment to ensure further development.

However, in recent weeks Tehran has taken a symbolic step with the signatures of memoranda of understanding with Royal Dutch Shell and France’s Total and Schellenberger.

At the end of November, Iran was able to win an exemption from an OPEC agreement to freeze output, although Tehran’s production is still capped at just below 4 million barrels per day. Russia, which is outside OPEC, helped arrange the deal and has also said it will freeze output.

An OPEC-Russian statement on Saturday reiterated the cuts of about 558,000 bpd, about 2% of the global market.

A Russian trade delegation, with about 600 executives and officials, is also arriving in Iran on Sunday for three-days of talks.

The delegation includes representatives from 200 companies in sectors such as energy, agriculture, banking, transportation, education, forestry and aviation.

During his stay in Tehran, Novak will chair the 13th Iran-Russia Joint Economic Commission, alongside Iran’s Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi.

The two countries are expected to sign agreements which thermal power plants in Iran’s southern port city Bandar Abbas.

Iran and Boeing Confirm Deal for 80 Airplanes

Iran and the US manufacturer Boeing have signed a deal for the sale of 80 airplanes.

Iran Air announced the $16.6 billion deal on Sunday. The sale includes 50 twin-jet, narrow-body 737 planes and 30 long-range, wide-body 777 aircraft. The first airplanes are scheduled for delivery in 2018, with the order fulfilled over 10 years.

Tehran has pursued deals with France’s Airbus and Boeing for months. In September, the US Treasury Department gave approval for both companies to proceed with sales.

Iran is eager to complete the deals before the inauguration of Donald Trump, fearing the new US President could block them.

The Islamic Republic has also been pressing for confirmation of foreign investment in oil and gas fields, signing memoranda of understanding with Royal Dutch and France’s Total and Schellenberger in recent weeks.

Supreme Leader to Iraq Allies: “Don’t Trust US”

The Supreme Leader has used a meeting with Iraqi allies to repeat his denunciations of a dishonest US.

Ayatollah Khamenei told the head of the National Iraqi Alliance, Ammar al-Hakim, and his delegation that the American involvement in operations to defeat the Islamic State is a ruse: “Contrary to their claims, US officials never seek to uproot Takfiri terrorists; they try to save part of terrorists for their future goals.”

In contrast to his criticism of the US involvement in the offensive to push ISIS out of Iraq’s second city Mosul, he praised Shia militias who are fighting west of the city: “Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Force is a huge wealth and reserve for today and future of Iraq and must be strengthened and supported.”

Accusing the US of killing “many Iraqi scientists”, the Supreme Leader concluded, “Americans cannot be trusted.”