The already-complex task of reaching a long-term agreement on Iran's nuclear program could get a little more complicated.
Reports earlier this week suggested that Russia and Iran are working on an oil-for-goods trade deal worth $20 billion. Such a deal could involve Iran selling Russia 500,000 barrels of oil a day, in exchange for equipment including metal and food.
"If such a deal were to happen, it would be inconsistent with the … joint plan of action," a senior administration official told reporters Friday.
Under the interim agreement—reached by the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Iran—Iran is not supposed to export, on average, more than 1 million barrels a day.
The official added that they have no information that the Russia-Iran deal has been implemented, but said if it is, it could potentially trigger sanctions.
"If it in fact was sanctionable, we would take the appropriate actions," the official said, adding that the United States has voiced its concerns about the deal.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Corker, in response to report of the Russia-Iran deal, said that "the administration must be prepared to restore all sanctions if Iran cheats."
Diplomats are expected to head back to Vienna next week to continue discussions aimed at reaching a long-term agreement.
But the official said that negotiators aren't expected to start drafting the final agreement until May, and are preparing "to dive much more deeply into what a comprehensive agreement might look like on paper."
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