Belarus Purchases 600,000 Barrels of Iranian Oil Amid Energy Dispute With Russia

© AP Photo/ Vahid Salemi
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Belarus’s Beloil Polska has purchased 600,000 barrels of oil from Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said on Saturday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The сompany noted that this was the first purchase of Iranian oil by Belarus following the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.

"Belarus’s BelOil Polska had purchased 600,000 barrels of Iranian Light and Heavy crude oil from National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for loading in February," the Iranian company said in a press release.

According to media reports, the loading of a vessel bound for Belarus could begin around February 20, although the logistics have not been finalized.

Prior to 2016, Belarus had relied on Russia for oil supplies. The oil and gas dispute between Russia and Belarus has lasted since the beginning of last year, when Minsk said the price for Russian natural gas was unfair and unilaterally began to pay less. Russia, in turn, announced the reduction of duty-free oil supplies to Belarus linking it in particular with underpayment for the gas.

Sanctions against Iran were lifted in early 2016, after the signing of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the P5+1 group of countries. Under the JCPOA, Iran committed to ensuring the peaceful nature of its nuclear program in return for gradual sanctions relief.