Putin confirms $5bn Russian loan to Iran

By bne IntelliNews November 24, 2015

Russia will grant Iran an export-backed $5bn loan, President Vladimir Putin said while attending the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit in Tehran on November 23.

The loan will activate "industrial cooperation", Putin told a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while adding that the funds will support 35 priority development projects, including energy, construction, ports and terminals, rail roads, and other sectors.

On November 12, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said a $5bn direct loan was under discussion, while another ‎€2bn credit could be provided by the state development bank VneshEkonomBank (VEB, which is reportedly in trouble and in need of recapitalisation).

Novak was also a part of Russian delegation to Tehran for the energy summit, where he announced that an agreement on swaps of oil and gas between Russia and Iran is "discussed in detail".

At the same time, RZD International, a subsidiary of the state-controlled Russian Railways (RZD) monopoly signed a contract with Iranian Railways for electrifying 495 kilometres of rail line. In 2012 RZD completed a similar project of 46 kilometres. Previously the total amount of contracts for RZD in Iran was estimated at €8.4bn by an intra-government cooperation commission.

In military cooperation, Russia is due to make a controversial delivery of sophisticated S-300 air defence missile systems to Iran in March 2016.

Russia and Iran signed a contract in 2007 for the supply of S-300 systems to Iran but the $800mn deal was suspended in 2010 when then-President Dmitry Medvedev succumbed to international pressure not to supply Tehran. After Iran filed an almost $4bn lawsuit against Russia in Switzerland, Putin in spring of 2015 lifted the ban on the supply of the missiles.

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