Moscow shrugs off concerns about Iranian oil

Jan. 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

MOSCOW, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Russian government said Thursday it was brushing off Washington's concerns about a potential oil-for-goods swap deal with Iran.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported the Kremlin is considering a deal to swap goods and potential financial payments in exchange for Iranian crude oil. It said Russian government officials told Russian-language business daily Kommersant there were no real concerns about triggering sanctions with the deal.

"Russia does not violate any sanctions and is not obliged to coordinate such projects with anyone," the source said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday spoke by phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying Russia had every right to make an oil-for-goods deal with Iran.

An interim deal reached between Iran and Western powers calls on Iran to curb its nuclear activity in exchange for relief from some economic sanctions. Washington said new sanctions on Iran would be counterproductive but has enforced existing measures.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday the potential Russian deal with Iran would be inconsistent with the terms of the interim nuclear agreement.

"We've been very clear that we're concerned about that [deal]," he said during the daily White House briefing.

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