Russian ruble could be used in oil trade deals in Iran - envoy
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Russia's Armed Forces have become more mobile and combat ready in recent years, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. "The country's missile-nuclear potential has been reinforced with Topol-M missiles," Putin said during an official ceremony involving recently-decorated military top brass. "Permanent strategic aviation patrols have also been restored," he added. Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Putin. "The naval task force has carried out successful expeditions in the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. New tactics were practiced at Shanghai Cooperation Organization exercises, at the CIS united air defense tests and during Russian-Belarusian military command war-games," said the Russian leader, who is nearing the end of his second and final term as president. Putin also said the country's Armed Forces faced new and more complicated tasks, including a military education reform. "The talk is about a new long-term program of military development until 2020 taking into account modern challenges and threats to Russia's national interests," he said. In a speech on February 8, President Putin blamed the West for unleashing a new international arms race.
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The Russian ruble could be used as a payment instrument for deals on an Iranian oil exchange, the Islamic Republic's ambassador to Moscow said on Friday. "Possibly in the future, we'll be able to use the ruble, Russia's national currency, in our operations," Gholamreza Ansari said, adding that the Islamic Republic was currently busy launching a new oil trade exchange. The Islamic Republic's oil minister, Gholam-Hossein Nozari, earlier said that Iran would launch on February 27 a commodities exchange for oil, petrochemicals and natural gas on the Persian Gulf island of Kish and that all financial settlements would be made in Iran's national currency, the rial.