Just one day after the formal announcement of a third party enrichment deal by Iran, Turkey and Brazil, the United States has announced that it is sending a draft sanctions bill to the UN Security Council ostensibly aimed at punishing Iran for not accepting that very deal.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed a deal had been reached among all the permanent members in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations committee today, but it was unclear if that “deal” had come prior to the announcement and China and Russia still have yet to confirm those claims.
The Iran deal will have the Iranian government sending 1,200 kg, much of its low enriched uranium stockpile, to Turkey. Other parties to the deal will eventually provide the fuel rods for Iran’s medical research reactor, at which time Turkey will turn over the uranium.
Despite being virtually verbatim to the deal the US has been demanding Iran accept since October, and resolving what has really been the only Western complaint of Iran’s program, that its stockpile was large enough to hypothetically be further enriched to produce a single nuclear weapon, the US has angrily rejected the deal, with officials saying it was “too little too late.”
Yet China has cheered the deal, as surprisingly enough has the French government, which has been among the most hawkish of the US allies against Iran. It seems inconceivable that the deal Secretary Clinton spoke of will trump an actual agreement.
But if it does, it will almost certainly be a major step toward an eventual American invasion of Iran. Iran’s public has felt itself ill-treated by the international community on its civilian nuclear program: if they face “crippling” sanctions after their government gives in to the West’s demands it will likely put voter opinion in Iran dramatically in favor of withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) based on the argument that the P5+1 aren’t respecting their rights under the treaty to begin with. This would give the war party the pretext for invasion it has sought for years: indeed some analysts have suggested US policy has been designed to force exactly this confrontation.