Hillary Clinton: Russia, China to back new Iran nuclear sanctions
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council favor a fourth round of sanctions over the Iran nuclear program. It's seen as a response to Monday's nuclear fuel swap deal.
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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s surprise announcement during Senate testimony Tuesday morning – and her elaboration that both Russia and China are on board in supporting the new resolution – is seen in part as a Big Powers’ response to a deal struck with Iran Monday by Brazil and Turkey to move a portion of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile out of the country.
Officials from both Turkey and Brazil said the plan to swap the uranium for fuel rods – which Iran needs for a research reactor – nullified any need for additional sanctions on Iran.
But the US, Russia, and European countries quickly rained doubts on the proposal and dampened hopes that the swap deal – modeled after an earlier deal brokered by the UN and involving a uranium transfer to Russia – would sideline the international push for sanctions.
Secretary Clinton used testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to announce an agreement by the five permanent and veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on what would be a fourth round of UN sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
Russia and China onboard with the US
“We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China,” Clinton said. “And let me say, Mr. Chairman, I think this announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”
The agreement among the six countries – the US, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany – does not yet mean that the resolution is guaranteed passage. A Security Council resolution requires a minimum of nine votes to pass, so the five permanent members, or “P5,” said to be on board (Germany is not a permanent member of the Security Council) would still require the support of 4 of the 10 rotating council members.
“The fact the P5 agree is extremely politically consequential, but it is not legally consequential,” says Michael Doyle, a former senior UN official now teaching international relations at Columbia University in New York. “They still have to get the four extra countries somewhere and honestly they ought to be able to get them given the inequality of world politics,” he adds, “but the fact is we’re not there yet.”