White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that reports that Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion, if true, could trigger U.S.-led sanctions and potentially derail the interim deal struck between Tehran, Washington and five other world powers.
“If the deal moves forward, it would raise serious concerns, as it would be inconsistent with the terms of [the agreement with world leaders] and Iran and potentially trigger U.S. sanctions against the entities and individuals involved in any such transactions,” Carney told reporters while traveling on Air Force One to North Carolina.
Arab news agencies are reporting on a tentative deal between Iran and Russia that would boost Tehran's oil exports, which U.S.-led sanctions aimed at freezing Iran's nuclear development have cut in half to roughly one million barrels a day.
Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly expressed his concern about the potential deal with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday.
The U.S. and five other world powers on Sunday finalized a deal with Iran that would roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for nearly $7 billion in sanctions relief. Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium and allow international monitoring for six months.
Russia is part of the P5+1 group of world powers that negotiated the deal with Iran but has not participated in the sanctions. In addition to the U.S., the other countries are the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China.