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Syria and Iran signed deal for a $3.6bn credit for oil

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Staff writer ▼ | August 2, 2013
Syria IranSyria and Iran signed a deal for a $3.6 billion credit to buy oil products to shore up President Bashar al-Assad's battered economy.

The deal, agreed in May, will allow Iran to acquire equity stakes in investments in Syria. Iran has already provided military assistance to Assad, training his forces and advising on military strategy.

"This will help Syria to import petroleum products that the country needs," said a Syrian trade official. and added that authorities had tried to set a ceiling of $4 billion on the deal.

Syria is short of diesel for its army and fuel to keep the economy running, partly because of U.S. and European Union financial sanctions. Its main supplier of petroleum products by sea has been Iran.

Another $1 billion credit line to Damascus has already been extended to buy Iranian power generating products and other goods in a barter arrangement that has helped Syria export textiles, phosphates and some agricultural produce such as olive oil and citrus products. Damascus has been in talks for months to secure a loan of up to $2 billion with low interest and a long grace period.

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