* Russia-Iran move comes after new sanctions against Tehran
* Russia already uses rouble in trade with China
MOSCOW, Jan 20 (Reuters) - 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 percent.