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US: Deal Reached on Iran Sanctions


Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes the V-sign for victory as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks on after the Islamic republic inked a nuclear fuel swap deal in Tehran on May 17. (AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Members of the UN security council have agreed on
a package of strong new sanctions to impose on Iran over its disputed
nuclear programme, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state,

Clinton told a US Senate committee that the permanent members of the
security council along with Germany would send a new draft resolution to
the entire council on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from
Washington DC, said the Senate hearing was supposed to be about a
nuclear deal between the US and Russia.

"But then all of a sudden [Clinton] announces that the security
council has worked out this round of sanctions, and that in her words it
would send an unmistakable message to the developments in Iran."

Clinton said the deal had been reached in cooperation with China and
Russia, who have previously resisted calls for a new round of sanctions.

"We don't know what's in these sanctions but we
do know that they're going to circulate around the UN," our
correspondent said.

"The fact that [Clinton] pointed out
that China and Russia were on board is a big deal for the US, because
that was the biggest concern for the Obama administration."

'Deflecting pressure'

In her comments on Tuesday, Clinton said Iran was trying to deflect
pressure with the fuel swap deal it agreed to on Monday.

and non-permanent security council members Brazil and Turkey said they
had agreed on a confidence-building plan for Iran to swap nuclear
materials that many believed would blunt the US-led drive for a fourth
round of UN penalties on Iran.

The agreement calls for Iran to
ship 1,200kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in return for
higher-enriched nuclear fuel for a medical research reactor.

Clinton's announcement
on Tuesday came despite an appeal from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the
Turkish prime minister, for the international community to support the
fuel swap deal.

"I urge the international community to support the final declaration
for the sake of world peace," Erdogan told a press conference in Spain.

"There is a unique chance before us and I believe we should take this

But Clinton said it was not an "accident that Iran agreed" to the
fuel swap as the US was preparing to move forward with sanctions.

"This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts
undertaken by Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide,''
Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"There are a number of unanswered questions regarding the
announcement coming from Tehran.

"While we acknowledge the sincere efforts of both Turkey and Brazil
to find a solution regarding Iran's standoff with the international
community over its nuclear program, we are proceeding to rally the
international community on behalf of a strong sanctions resolution that
will in our view send an unmistakable message about what is expected
from Iran."

The US and its allies say that Iran wants highly
enriched uranium to make an atomic weapon, but Tehran says its nuclear
programme is simply designed to meet its civilian energy needs.

Al Jazeera and agencies

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