Tehran on Friday said it will begin negotiations with Moscow on supplying Russia with car parts and fuel turbines in exchange for raw metal materials as Russia struggles under stiff international sanctions amid its war in Ukraine.
Russia is facing an uphill battle in replenishing its forces which are allegedly faced with diminishing artillery and subpar repair parts for machinery and vessels.
Both Russia and Iran have been hit with crippling international sanctions and have struggled to import vital materials needed to sustain their economies.
In this photo released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center right, and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, center left, sign agreements after their talks in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
(Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP)
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But according to Iranian trade and industries minister Reza Fatemi Amin, Tehran may have found a willing partner to barter with for raw materials that the country’s metal and mining industries need, reported Russian state media Friday.
Iran is looking to acquire zinc, aluminum, lead and steel whereas Russia is looking to obtain supplies needed for its power plants.
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News the department would not comment “on discussions between Russia and Iran about future economic cooperation.”
“That said, all sanctions options to counter Russian support for Iran’s regional aggression remain on the table. Entities that do business with sanctioned Russian entities run the risk of being sanctioned themselves,” the spokesman added.
The export of Iranian cars or car parts is not subject to U.S. sanctions, but it is unclear if the export of raw metal materials to Iran is a violation of international sanctions.
The news of negotiations comes just days after Iranian Petroleum Minister Javad Owji and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Novak signed three documents agreeing to exchange “technical knowledge and cooperation of experts in the field of petrochemical equipment,” a statement released by Tehran said Wednesday.
A part of a destroyed tank and a burned vehicle sit in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022.
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“We had good talks with the Russian delegation, which led to the signing of agreements,” Owji told local reporters.
Iran and Russia have agreed to cooperate on banking, transportation and agriculture.
Russia is now resorting to desperate measures to reinforce its troops in Ukraine, reportedly relying on Chinese-made household appliances to repair damage caused to its naval fleet in the Black Sea.
But while Moscow scrambles to prolong its deadly three-month-long war, a fuel crisis has stricken Ukraine.
Ukraine has seen a serious fuel shortage over the last several weeks as supply chains have fallen victim to Russian shelling.
A naval blockade in the south, destroyed oil refineries, damaged railways and a dependence on foreign oil from adversarial nations like Russia and Belarus have meant Ukrainians are struggling to obtain fuel.
But the shortage could also spell trouble for Russian forces who have notoriously had logistical trouble getting supplies since the war began in February.
Regional officials in Luhansk, Ukraine’s most northeastern region, which shares a border with Russia and remains under heavy fighting, announced this week that the last gas distribution station in the region had shut down.
TOPSHOT – In this picture taken on April 13, 2022, a Russian soldier stands guard at the Luhansk power plant in the town of Shchastya.
(Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
“Now the region is completely without natural gas,” a regional official said on Telegram Wednesday.
It is unclear at this time how Russia is continuing to supply its troops with sufficient fuel needs as it looks to take “full control” over eastern and southern Ukraine.