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 »
"Wikileaks published more than 8,000 documents purportedly taken from the Democratic National Committee Friday, just days before the start of the party's convention in Philadelphia. The documents included briefings on off-the-record fundraisers and candid photographs."
Hillary Clinton "is widely expected to announce her choice" of vice president "in an email to supporters while on a campaign swing in Florida on Friday afternoon." The consensus: it'll be Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, although Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are also said to be in the running.
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.