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Iran wooing Russian oil companies

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Iran has stated its interest in attracting investments from Russian oil companies to help develop its oilfields, Russia’s TASS news agency said on Monday, quoting Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh.

Iran is hoping to not only attract investments into its oil industry, but looking to increase its energy cooperation with Russia to offset the harsh U.S. sanctions that have reduced its oil exports over the last year.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak met with the Iranian Oil Minister this week. “A  broad range of trade and economic cooperation matters is also successfully explored between our countries. Although this year has become a tough challenge for the whole global community, economic relations between Russia and Iran do not lose prior dynamics but become more active and meaningful instead,” Novak said.

The talks come at a time when Iran is hit particularly hard by the effects from the Covid-19 pandemic, on top of the U.S. sanctions that have hampered Iran’s main source of income: oil exports. According to some medical professionals, the country may be quickly approaching a catastrophe, on top of the economic depression it is currently going through.

For Iran, the culmination of an economic depression and an unprecedented health crisis has resulted in crime sprees, a rash of suicides, business closures, lower standards of living, substance abuse, and evictions.

All this may make Iran more amenable to energy deals that Russia proposes. China and Iran are essentially the last development firms that remain in Iran.

Iran has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to energy deals with Russia before, most notably when Iran was facing the threat of U.S. sanctions in May 2018. Then, too, Iran was on the backfoot.

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