* Russia-Iran move comes after new sanctions against Tehran
* Russia already uses rouble in trade with China
MOSCOW Jan 20 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