Russia to deliver fuel to Iran despite sanctions: minister
Russian companies are ready to supply fuel to energy-hungry Iran, despite unilateral US and EU sanctions targeting Tehran's oil and gas sectors, the Russian energy minister said on Wednesday.
"Russian companies are prepared to deliver oil products to Iran. The possibility of delivering oil products to Iran exists, if there is a commercial interest," said Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko.
Russia has already expressed its dissatisfaction with the sanctions measures agreed last month by the United States and the European Union to punish Iran for its defiance in the nuclear standoff.
These go beyond the new UN sanctions that were agreed by Russia and other world powers which mainly target military-related industries.
"Sanctions cannot hinder us," Shmatko said after a meeting in Moscow with Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mir Kazemi, quoted by Russian news agencies.
Iran, which holds around 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, is the world's fourth-biggest oil exporter and the second-biggest producer in the oil cartel OPEC after Saudi Arabia.
However a lack of refining capacity and inefficiency problems means Iran has to import vast volumes of petrol from a variety of sources in order to satisfy domestic demand.
© 2010 AFP