WASHINGTON, January 15 (RIA Novosti) – A possible deal between Russia and Iran securing an oil-for-goods swap could generate sanctions against parties involved in such an agreement, a White House spokesman said Wednesday.
“If the deal moves forward, it would raise serious concerns, as it would be inconsistent with the terms of the P5+1 agreement with Iran and potentially trigger US sanctions against the entities and individuals involved in any such transactions,” spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
The Reuters news agency last week cited Iranian and Russian sources as saying that the two nations are negotiating a swap that could see Russia buy up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil daily in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.
Washington expects that the reported deal would increase Iran’s oil exports, which have been cut by more than half, to about 1 million barrels a day, by sanctions led by the US and European states over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The P5+1 group – comprised of the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – clinched a deal with Iran in November to cap Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for a relaxation of the economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
The West fears Iran’s nuclear program could allow it to build a nuclear bomb. Iran says its program is peaceful.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met Wednesday with Mehdi Sanaei, Iran’s ambassador to Russia. Contacted by the Prime news agency, an Energy Ministry spokesman declined to comment on whether bilateral cooperation in the oil sector was discussed.