China, France, Germany, Iran, Nuclear, Politics, Russia, Sanctions, UK, UN, USA
World powers have been in talks to begin lifting UN sanctions against Iran if a deal is reached in upcoming nuclear discussions, media sources said. A UN resolution would make the deal binding, bypassing recently voiced objections in the US Senate.
The P5+1 group, consisting of the five permanent members of the
UN Security Council (Russia, China, France, Britain, and the US)
plus Germany, has been discussing a draft resolution to begin
relaxing UN sanctions on Iran, an unnamed Western official told
Reuters on Thursday. The sanctions were imposed in 2006 over
Iran’s alleged attempts to weaponize its nuclear energy program.
The revelation comes amid a war of words between the White House
and Senate Republicans over a letter that 47 senators sent to
Iran on Monday, warning Tehran that any agreement not ratified by
the Senate could be revoked under the next president.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei condemned the senators’
letter, saying the “other side is known for opacity, deceit
and backstabbing,” Mehr news agency reported.
Washington was looking for a “non-binding” agreement
rather than a full international treaty, because that would give
the US “flexibility to snap back sanctions” if needed,
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She
refused to address the question of whether this represented an
attempt to bypass the Senate.
A UN Security Council resolution would be legally binding for
Washington, making it more difficult for Congress or the next
presidential administration to undo any agreement that might be
reached with Iran.
Earlier this week, White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained
that President Obama did not envision “substantial sanctions
relief” for years, until Iran showed a “demonstrable
commitment” to accept the terms of the deal – including
inspections of nuclear facilities, factories, and uranium mines
described as “intrusive.”
“The best way for us to resolve international community’s
concerns about Iran’s nuclear program is to get Iran’s own
commitment to not develop a nuclear weapon,” said Earnest.
Little is known about the proposed deal, but State Department and
White House revelations over the past several weeks indicate that
it would allow Iran to develop a civilian atomic program under
strict supervision, which would make it very difficult to build a
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the deal in his address to the US Congress
earlier this month, further souring relations between legislators
and the White House.
Talks on Iran’s nuclear program are scheduled to continue in
Switzerland next week.