Could Iran-Russia Deal Bring More Sanctions?

An administration official says the United States has raised concerns and will take necessary action.

An Iranian clerric walks past a mural on the wall of the former U.S. embassy, apparently undaunted by media reports of potential airstrikes by the US if relations between the two countries deteriorates further February 22, 2007 in Tehran, Iran.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
April 4, 2014, 11:53 a.m.

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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