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Monday, March 17, 2014

*82* Senators send Obama a letter outlining acceptable terms for Iran

President Hussein Obama may be willing to let Iran have a nuclear capability, but 82 Senators feel otherwise. They are sending a letter to the President this week outlining what they believe to be acceptable terms.
Eighty-two senators – 41 Republicans and 41 Democrats – say they hope diplomatic efforts with Iran succeed in Vienna over the next four months – but also call for the “rapid and dramatic” expansion of sanctions if negotiations fail.
The letter began circulating less than two weeks ago, and has attracted 76 signatories since its release. Senate aides told The Jerusalem Post the letter will be sent to the White House early this week.
A source with a pro-Israel organization characterized the letter’s message as “a very significant statement of Senate policy in that it specifies the core principles in final agreement.”
...
“We believe that Iran has no inherent right to enrichment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” the letter reads. “We believe any agreement must dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevent it from ever having a uranium or plutonium path to a nuclear bomb.”
The letter also calls for the closure of Fordow, Arak and Parchin – key facilities in Iran’s nuclear program – in its list of demands.
The Obama administration has entered negotiations with a similar list, though senior officials are not demanding the full dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.
On a conference call with reporters on Friday, one senior administration official said the White House is willing to tolerate a small, highly regulated Iranian nuclear program that is guaranteed peaceful through strict verification and oversight measures.
The language of the letter does not explicitly rule out these terms: It calls on Iran’s nuclear weapons program to be fully dismantled, not necessarily all of its nuclear work.
The Senators' letter is very mice, but it's kind of like closing the barn door after the cow has escaped. While US Secretary of State John FN Kerry told the Senate this week that Iran is not open for business, the facts suggest otherwise. The sanctions are gone and Iran is bringing in millions of dollars.
Various outlets have focused in recent days on specific sectors being eyed by investors as Iranian markets are reopened to the world under the terms of the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA), even as President Barack Obama on Wednesday extended some sanctions after informing Congress that the Islamic Republic “continue[d] to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that “global steelmakers have Iran in their sights,” and described “a steel conference last month in Tehran to study export opportunities and investing” that had been attended by roughly 45 producers.
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The Wall Street Journal had noted on Tuesday that some investors viewed Iran as “Turkey with oil,” and that there was a growing consensus that those who managed to “get in early” would profit substantially. The characterizations risk reinforcing the long-expressed concerns of analysts who worried that the JPA would trigger a gold rush that would all but collapse the post-JPA international sanctions regime. Congressional efforts to counter the potential for such a downward spiral have been stymied by heavy administration pressure.
 What could go wrong?

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