Surprise, surprise! According to Reuters, Iran “could cancel its agreement with Turkey and Brazil to transfer some of its uranium abroad if the UN Security Council approves a new round of sanctions against it.”
Turkey, Brazil and Iran have urged a halt to talk of further sanctions because of the deal, but the UN Security Council looks poised to move forward regardless.
In Congress, lawmakers seem as ready as ever to ignore the administration’s request to hold off on sanctions legislation until after a UN deal is concluded.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday he wants Congress to complete action on the new sanctions legislation before leaving for the Memorial Day recess:
“We hope it will move out of conference this week and be on the floor next week.”
Hoyer also called the proposed fuel swap “unacceptable,” since it would allow Iran to keep some of its enriched uranium “to pursue its nuclear arms intentions.”
Sen. Chris Dodd commended Sec. Hillary Clinton for the recent breakthrough on UN sanctions. Dodd noted that “international sanctions make a lot more sense than unilateral sanctions,” but also said that Congress would not “reduce or retreat” from passing a unilateral measure.
Inside the conference process, Josh Rogin reports that conferees and non-conferees alike have been holding meetings both at the staff and member level, and both Dodd and Rep. Howard Berman, sponsors of the Senate and House bills, respectively, have been engaged with the administration.
The drive to complete the bill quickly is bipartisan, since Republicans don’t believe the UN language will be tough enough and Democrats don’t want to look weak on national security.
At the UN, the schedule for sanctions remains a little more lax. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday that, “There’s no particular timetable here. The president has indicated he’d like to see this done by the end of spring, and that remains the timeline that we are following.”