Axis of Upheaval: Iran-Russia Trade in Own Monies

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 1/20/2012 12:40:00 PM
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper.

Vladimir Putin: They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar.

Factually speaking, the ongoing long-term devaluation trend of the dollar is not in dispute. However, America #1 cheerleaders don't like hearing it from the likes of the folks mentioned above with their particular put-downs (however appropriate). The common refrain of "well, what are you gonna do about it?" referring to dollar hegemony is an important one. How do you escape being ripped off in advance by Uncle Sam? Already Japan is buying more RMB-denominated sovereign bonds.

In such a vein, I suppose this example is as straightforward an example of the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" as you can get. You see, the axis of upheaval of Iran and Russia--two countries currently in the Western doghouse over alleged nuclear weapons programmes and vote-rigging respectively are joining forces to defeat the need to use dollars in their trade activities with one another. The particular reason cited for this move is the imminent imposition of sundry Western sanctions on Iran designed to curtail its trade with the rest of the world:
Iran and Russia have started using their domestic rial and rouble currencies in bilateral trade instead of the U.S. dollar, Iran's envoy to Moscow said on Friday, after the United States imposed new sanctions on the Middle East state.

"(Trade) is based on our national currencies," said Iranian ambassador to Russia Seyed Sajjadi...We started this work long ago. Iranian businessmen are buying products in Russia and are using the rouble as (payment) currency ... The U.S. dollar has no (economic) support base," he said speaking at a news conference.

Iran is seeking to boost trade after the United States imposed additional sanctions in late December in a response to Teheran's refusal to abandon uranium enrichment. The European Union is expected to finalise the ban on imports of Iranian oil at a meeting next week.

Russia, opposing oil sanctions against Iran, has long promoted the rouble as an international currency which could be used in bilateral settlements. In 2010 Moscow began offering to exchange roubles for Chinese yuan as the two nations look to boost bilateral transactions in their own currencies and reduce their reliance on the dollar. China accounts for 10.1 percent of Russia's foreign trade and is its second-largest trading partner after the European Union, while Iran's share in Russia's trade in 2011 stood at 0.5 percent.
While I neither think the ruble is an ideal vehicle currency [!] nor view the rial as a viable currency at all given how I mostly used other denominations when I visited Iran, there may be something going on here worth emulating. As you probably expect, I will have more to say about Iran's persecution in the coming days. Stay tuned.