The countries have been forging closer trade ties as both find themselves targeted by Western sanctions
Russia and Iran have reached an agreement to boost the use of their respective national currencies in settlements as a push toward de-dollarization gains momentum in bilateral economic relations, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.
The head of Russia’s Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina has held a meeting with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Reza Farzin as part of her visit to Tehran where the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) summit is taking place.
“I had a good and productive meeting with my Russian colleague Elvira Nabiullina,” Farzin wrote on Twitter after the meeting, adding: “We both advocated a serious consensus on the development of currency relations between [our] countries, on the basis of which we prepared a road map. Part of this operational plan is the use of national currencies in bilateral relations and the strengthening of the system of bilateral settlements.”
According to the Central Bank of Iran, Nabiullina highlighted the need to boost cooperation between the banking and monetary sectors of Iran and Russia.
Last week, Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB, opened a branch in Iran, becoming the first-ever Russian bank to offer services in the Islamic Republic.
The meeting between the central bankers comes on the heels of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak’s recent visit to the Islamic Republic, during which he told Iranian media that around 80% of Russia-Iran transactions are currently being settled in national currencies.
Recently, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ali Asghar Shalbafyan, announced at the Russia-Islamic World: KazanForum that Moscow and Tehran have completed all preliminary agreements for the use of the Russian Mir payment card, an alternative to Western Visa and Mastercard.
Moscow and Tehran have been strengthening ties in the face of Western economic sanctions. In 2022, the value of the goods and services exchanged between Russia and Iran surged by 15% and reached $4.6 billion, according to official data.
Both countries have experienced an uptick in many areas of cooperation, including travel, with the number of Russians entering Iran having almost quadrupled in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 2019, according to customs data.
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