The Russian Cabinet of Ministers underlined the importance of expanding ties with Iran, and asked for accelerating barter trade between the two states. The Russian Cabinet of Ministers is discussing a new scheme for possible Iran oil deliveries via an independent trader, instead of Russia’s oil giant Rosneft, the Kommersant business daily said Friday, citing Russian government sources. According to unofficial reports, the talks between Iran and Russia’s Ministry of Energy are overseen by the Russian Energy Agency, led by the former first vice-chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), Anatoly Tikhonov. Russia and Iran have been negotiating a deal that could see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil daily in exchange for Russian equipment and goods. The talks reached progress late last year, ahead of the sanctions relief for Tehran under the November nuclear deal struck by world powers and Iran’s government. On Thursday, media reports said that Iran and Russia are in final stages of concluding a 20-bilion-dollar oil deal according to which Moscow can purchase 500,000 barrels of crude per day from Iran. Iran-Russia trade currently totals $5bln a year, but economists say they can at least quadruple the volume of their trade exchanges. Last month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced that Tehran and Moscow are due to finalize an agreement on broader economic and trade cooperation. The Iranian oil minister underlined that Iran is determined to raise the volume of its “economic transactions” with Russia within the framework of long-term deals. Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation discussed bolstering and reinvigorating the two states' bilateral ties and cooperation in various spheres. Iran and Russia enjoy special positions on the international scene and have long had constant and regular consultations on key regional and global issues.