Washington feels heat over Iran fuel deal

WASHINGTON – Although the Barack Obama administration continued to dismiss the May 17 Iranian fuel swap agreement Friday, there are indications that Iran’s acceptance of the agreement has shaken unity among United Nations Security Council members on sanctions, and is bringing Russian diplomatic pressure on the United States to participate in new talks with Iran on the swap arrangement – something the administration clearly wished to avoid.

In a hastily arranged conference call with reporters last Friday afternoon, three “senior administration officials” assailed the new swap agreement, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, for failing to address what was described as Iran’s decision to continue enrichment of uranium to 20%, the increase in Iran’s low-enriched uranium (LEU) stocks since last October or UN Security Council resolutions demanding a suspension of all enrichment.

In a telltale sign that the Iranian move has shaken previous unity among the permanent Security Council members on sanctions, however, one of the officials sidestepped a question about the present stance of Russia and China
on sanctions.

Far from expressing confidence that the agreement still held, the official would only say, “We’ve been working with the full council to resolve any outstanding issues.”

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an agreement on a draft resolution on sanctions within hours of the May 17 Iranian fuel swap agreement in Tehran. >>>

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