Iran Oil-Swap Proposal Prompts Questions on U.S. Sanctions Strategy

Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats pass an oil tanker off the coast of southern Iran in 2012. U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Monday urged the Obama administration to explain how it would respond if Iran and Russia finalize a "sanctions-busting" oil deal.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
June 3, 2014, 10:49 a.m.

A seni­or U.S. law­maker wants the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to ex­plain how it would re­spond if Ir­an and Rus­sia fi­nal­ize a “sanc­tions-bust­ing” oil deal.

U.S. House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee Chair­man Ed Royce (R-Cal­if.) said the po­ten­tial “oil-for-goods” plan would cir­cum­vent in­ter­na­tion­al ef­forts to squeeze con­ces­sions from Ir­an on its bomb-us­able nuc­le­ar activ­it­ies. In a Monday let­ter, he asked Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry to identi­fy what “des­ig­na­tion and en­force­ment steps” the ad­min­is­tra­tion would pur­sue if the po­ten­tial $20 bil­lion ar­range­ment takes ef­fect.

Ne­go­ti­at­ors for Rus­sia, the United States and four oth­er coun­tries are of­fer­ing Ir­an re­lief from eco­nom­ic pres­sure if the Middle East­ern na­tion sig­ni­fic­antly di­als back its con­tested atom­ic ef­forts. Tehran denies it is seek­ing a nuc­le­ar-bomb ca­pa­city, and so far has not offered curbs suf­fi­cient to sat­is­fy Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies.

Royce said the pro­pos­al for Ir­an to trade oil for non­mon­et­ary goods from Rus­sia “would present a clear vi­ol­a­tion of Ir­an’s ob­lig­a­tions and would un­der­mine the ra­tionale be­hind the cur­rent ne­go­ti­ations.” Treas­ury Sec­ret­ary Jack Lew in April said Wash­ing­ton could pen­al­ize groups or in­di­vidu­als that en­gage in trade un­der the pos­sible pact, but he did not spe­cify what leg­al au­thor­it­ies would per­mit such ac­tion.

The law­maker also asked for a run­down of steps by Wash­ing­ton or its part­ners “to de­ter a po­ten­tial deal.”

The United States con­tends that a six-month in­ter­im ac­cord ob­lig­ates Ir­an to cap its av­er­age daily oil ex­ports to six key oil-im­port­ing na­tions at about a mil­lion bar­rels. Royce said the list does not in­clude Rus­sia, po­ten­tially en­abling a barter deal to boost Tehran’s daily oil sales by up to half a mil­lion ad­di­tion­al bar­rels.

Royce also aired con­cern over in­dic­a­tions that Mo­scow may sup­ply Ir­an with arms or nuc­le­ar sys­tems un­der the pro­posed ar­range­ment.

What We're Following See More »
WORDS AND PICTURES
White House Looks Back on bin Laden Mission
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
NO BATTLE OVER SEATTLE
SCOTUS Won’t Hear Appeal of Minimum-Wage Law
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a sweeping constitutional challenge to Seattle’s minimum wage law, in what could have been a test case for future legal attacks on similar measures across the country. In a one-line order, the justices declined to hear a case by the International Franchise Association and a group of Seattle franchisees, which had said in court papers that the city’s gradual wage increase to $15 discriminates against them in a way that violates the Constitution’s commerce clause."

Source:
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION IN JUNE
DC to Release Draft Constitution as Part of Statehood Push
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The New Columbia Statehood Commission—composed of five District leaders including Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and D.C.'s congressional delegation—voted today to publicly release a draft of a new constitution for an eventual state next Friday, at the Lincoln Cottage." It's the first step in a statehood push this year that will include a constitutional convention in June and a referendum in November.

Source:
ALZHEIMER’S OUTCRY
Will Ferrell Bails on Reagan Movie
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

Amid outcry by President Reagan's children, actor Will Ferrell has pulled out of a movie that makes light of Reagan's Alzheimer's disease. A spokesperson for Ferrell said, “The ‘Reagan’ script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project."

Source:
×