On Thursday, the head of Tehran’s nuke agency announced that Iran is working on developing a “new generation” of centrifuge equipment for enriching uranium — a move that pretty much puts them directly into conflict with the interim deal under which they promised not to bring new centrifuges into operation for six months in return for some limited sanctions relief. Evidently, this latest development hasn’t done much to quell the fears of the bipartisan group of senators pushing to legislatively impose the threat of new Iranian sanctions, despite the Obama administration’s attempts to quash that tactic, via Fox News:
One of the president’s top Democratic allies is leading the charge for Congress to pass sanctions legislation, despite the president’s pleas to stand down. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told Fox News that the “Iranians are showing their true intentions” with their latest announcement.
“If you’re talking about producing more advanced centrifuges that are only used to enrich uranium at a quicker rate … the only purposes of that and the only reason you won’t give us access to [a military research facility] is because you’re really not thinking about nuclear power for domestic energy — you’re thinking about nuclear power for nuclear weapons,” he said. …
Menendez said he, like the president, wants to test the opportunity for diplomacy.
“The difference is that we want to be ready should that diplomacy not succeed,” the senator said. “It’s getting Congress showing a strong hand with Iranians at the same time that the administration is seeking negotiation with them. I think that that’s the best of all worlds.”
Indeed. As Krauthammer put it on Friday night, I’m not sure how they could be any more obvious about what their real intentions are here, and if their stated intentions were really of a more honorable nature, the mere pending possibility of further sanctions wouldn’t be nearly so big a deal, would it? Via RCP:
The only surprising thing here is that the Iranians are so confident about how supine Obama is on this. They stick a finger in his eye and announce it publicly. There is nothing in the agreement that stops the Iranians from enriching more uranium and produce the machines that enrich the uranium. That was the problem at the beginning. That’s what made the agreement a farce at the start. Unless you go after the uranium enrichment, unless you curtail or destroy the machines that enrich the uranium, you have done nothing to stop the progress of Iran. … And for Obama to take the side of the Mullahs against the Congress, if he was really serious about this, then why wouldn’t he use the fact that Congress is being tough and say Congress is the bad cop. You go to the Iranians and say, ‘Look, I’m trying to be reasonable but the Congress is out of control and they want to wreck your economy unless you shut down your program. I can’t hold them back. So are you going to negotiate seriously or not?’