April 10, 2014 / 8:48 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. warns Russia over any oil-for-goods deal with Iran

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew speaks during a news conference with Mexico's Finance Minister Luis Videgaray (not pictured) in Mexico City March 18, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told his Russian counterpart on Thursday that any oil-for-goods deal Moscow might strike with Iran could run afoul of U.S. sanctions.

“Secretary Lew reiterated our serious concerns regarding reports of a possible deal between Russia and Iran involving oil-for-goods,” a Treasury representative said in a statement after Lew met with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

“He made clear that such a deal ... could trigger sanctions against any entity or individual involved in any related transactions,” the representative said.

Lew also told Siluanov a deal would run counter to an agreement between Iran and six world powers, including the United States and Russia, in which Tehran promised to curb its nuclear program in return for a modest easing in Western sanctions. The sanctions were imposed to choke off Iran’s oil revenues.

Reuters reported last week that Iran and Russia had made progress on a barter deal that could be worth up to $20 billion under which Moscow would provide Russian equipment and goods in exchange for Iranian oil.

Lew and Siluanov also spoke about Ukraine, with Lew repeating that the United States stood ready to impose additional sanctions on Russia if it continued to step up tensions, according to the spokesperson.

“Lew stated that the United States continues to believe that there is an opportunity to resolve the crisis through diplomacy,” the representative said.

The representative added that Lew encouraged Russia to further participate in an international effort to restore Ukraine’s economic health, “especially as it relates to the free flow of energy and trade.”

Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish and Mohammad Zargham

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