Russia, Iran cut deal on energy

NY Times:
The Obama administration’s strategy of punishing Russia with economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis encountered a new complication on Monday with word that the Russians are negotiating an $8 billion to $10 billion energy deal with Iran, another country ostracized by American-led sanctions, which partly depend on Moscow’s cooperation to be effective.

The Russia-Iran energy deal, reported by the Iranian state news media, is the second significant economic collaboration under negotiation between the two countries that could undercut the efficacy of the sanctions on Iran. Those sanctions are widely credited with successfully pressuring the Iranians in the current talks over their disputed nuclear program.

Officials at the United States Treasury Department, which enforces economic sanctions against Iran, did not immediately respond to queries about whether the Russia-Iran energy deal would technically violate those sanctions, which prohibit dealings with a range of Iranian government entities and industries and penalize foreigners who subvert them.

Under the deal, as reported by Iran’s Mehr News Agency, the Russians would export 500 megawatts of electricity to Iran and construct new thermal and hydroelectric generating plants and a transmission network. Mehr said terms of the deal were discussed on Sunday between Hamid Chitchian, Iran’s energy minister, and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, who was on a state visit to Iran.
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I would be more concerned if they were cutting deals on weapons, which could still happen.  At this point it seems clear that in this new cold war, the Russians and Iranians are currently allies in their hostility to US interests.

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