Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov rejected US threats to impose sanctions over a major oil-for-goods contract with Iran, insisting the move isn’t a political or economic challenge to the US nor something America should be involved in.
Ryabkov insisted the Russian government wouldn’t be intimidated by threats of sanctions, and that unilateral US sanctions would be illegitimate. He went on to insist Russia wants closer economic ties with Iran.
The US threats are particularly limited nowadays, since the US is already sanctioning Russia over the annexation of Crimea, and has so little trade with Russia to begin with that they can’t realistically cut that much more out.
Russia began talks with Iran about the deal after the P5+1 interim nuclear deal, and could be worth $15 to $20 billion for the two nations. Iran will be trading the oil at a value somewhat below market price, and getting goods in return since Iran’s banks are virtually impossible to transact business with anymore.