Russia may start importing crude from Iran next week as part of an oil-for-goods agreement, Iranian Energy Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

“We hope that next week” Russia will take its first imports, Zanganeh told reporters on board a plane from Vienna late on Friday, after attending a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. “Much of this will be for cash and we will be using this money to buy commodities from the Russians.”

Iranian oil exports have dropped 50 percent since international sanctions against the country were tightened in 2011 amid a dispute over its nuclear program. Companies that trade with Iran are barred from doing business with U.S. and European operators. World powers including Russia and the U.S. plan to complete talks with Iran by the end of June to end the decade-long impasse over its atomic program.

Zanganeh said he discussed the deal with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in the Austrian capital on June 3. The country plans to buy “much lower than 500,000 barrels day” in exchange for cash, which Iran will then spend on Russian goods including steel, wheat and oil byproducts, he said.

Kazakhstan and Belarus will be able to purchase Iranian crude shipments from Russia under the agreement because they are part of the Eurasian Customs Union, Zanganeh said.

Russia may also work with Iran on various projects in exchange for oil, Zanganeh said, without elaborating.

Source: Bloomberg