The White House said a possible petroleum deal between Iran and Russia could prompt a U.S. sanctions backlash, Reuters reports.
"We are concerned about these reports and Secretary [of State John] Kerry directly expressed this concern with [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov today," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told the wire agency on Monday. She was referencing recent reports that negotiations are moving forward on an alleged proposal for Moscow to provide nonmonetary materials to Iran in exchange for oil.
The possible arrangement could provide $1.5 billion in new monthly oil income to Iran, which has seen its petroleum revenue drop as a result of international sanctions targeting its disputed atomic activities.
Hayden said the potential deal would be "inconsistent" with the terms of a six-month agreement reached in November by Iranian negotiators and counterparts from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany.
In addition, the alleged Iranian-Russian agreement "could potentially trigger U.S. sanctions," the White House spokeswoman added.
Washington hopes the half-year accord reached in November will pave the way for more enduring restrictions on Iranian atomic activities that, if left unchecked, could lead to development of a nuclear-weapon capability. Tehran maintains that its nuclear ambitions are strictly peaceful.