Russia Asks Iran: Help Us Skirt U.S. Sanctions

Iranian officials in Moscow to assist Russia around sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin / AP
May 8, 2014

A senior Russian official held a meeting with Iran’s ambassador to Moscow on Wednesday to solicit advice on ways the Russian government can skirt U.S. sanctions that were leveled in wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev summoned Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanayee for a meeting in Moscow to learn strategies for avoiding the brunt of U.S. sanctions.

Moiseev reportedly "called on Tehran to share its experiences with Russia in confronting the U.S.-led sanctions," according to a report in Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency.

Iran has for years developed elaborate and illegal methods for skirting sanctions on its contested nuclear program, its military, and oil trade. The meeting is a sign that Moscow may already be feeling the pain of U.S. sanctions on top Russian officials and companies.

Moiseev is reported to have told Sanayee Russia is "willing to make use of Iran's experience in dealing with Western sanctions."

U.S. sanctions on Russia have aimed to choke bank accounts for top Russian officials and those associated with lucrative Russian companies.

Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil corporation, is just one of several such Russians who have been targeted by U.S. sanctions. Other tech sector leaders and those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin have also found themselves on the sanctions list.

Iran has been particularly successful at skirting U.S. sanctions on its oil and energy sectors.

In addition to sailing rogue crude oil tankers to places such as China, Tehran has resorted to trading gold and other precious goods with countries such as Turkey.

Iran also has set up an elaborate network of front companies and networks that have allowed it to procure everything from nuclear-related goods to weapons, and even cash.

Iraq has also been singled out for its attempts to help Iran avoid U.S. sanctions, which were significantly loosened late last year after Iran and Western nations inked an interim nuclear accord.

Moiseev called for closer financial ties with Iran and discussed boosting trade between the two countries.

Both Sanayee and Moiseev "called for further coordination between Iran and Russia for the 11th meeting of their Joint Economic Commission" which is scheduled to be held in Tehran later this year.

Other top Russian officials also have sought to boost ties with Iran in recent months.

Published under: Iran , Russia