December 15, 2017

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Trouble brews for Obama over Iran nuclear deal

Trouble brews for Obama over Iran nuclear deal

If the U.S. Congress votes down the nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama could rapidly find himself facing many negative reverberations, including a painful predicament with China, current and former U.S. officials said on Friday.

China, one of six world powers that negotiated with Tehran, has reduced the amount of Iranian oil it buys, as demanded by a U.S. sanctions law meant to pressure Iran to accept a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear stand-off.

If Congress scuttles the July 14 nuclear agreement, energy-hungry Beijing is likely to conclude diplomacy has failed, break free of sanctions restraints and increase Iranian oil imports, the officials said.

Obama would have to decide whether to sanction China and add new troubles to bilateral relations – or let the painstakingly built architecture of restrictions on Iran unravel.

“You will rapidly find that we will have to make sanctions decisions that are not very attractive,” said Richard Nephew, until recently a top State Department and White House sanctions official. Read more

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