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Iran, Russia Dump Dollar For Rial, Ruble

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Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Seyyed Reza Sajjadi says Iran and Russia have turned to their national hard currencies instead of the American dollar in reciprocal trade exchanges.

Sajjadi said on Saturday that the proposal for the replacement of the US dollar with the Iranian rial and Russian ruble was raised during a meeting between Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the 11th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) last June.

Permanent SCO members include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, along with India, Mongolia and Pakistan, is an observer state to the intergovernmental mutual-security organization.

The Iranian envoy said Tehran and Moscow switched to their national currencies in preference after the meeting between their presidents.

Sajjadi also pointed to Russia’ strong opposition to sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, saying Russians have clearly announced that they will not accept fresh anti-Iran bids that target the country’s Central Bank and financial institutions.

He also described new US sanctions against Iran as “illegal and unilateral”, stressing that Russia has at times called for a peaceful solution to Iran’s atomic case through negotiations.

On December 31, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.

The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran’s Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.

The legislation will not take effect for six months in a bid to provide oil markets with time to adjust.

Meanwhile, energy experts say sanctions could lead to a major hike in crude oil prices and disrupt the interests of the US and its allies that depend on oil imports from Iran.

Facing major economic troubles, the United States is reportedly the world’s largest debtor nation.

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