Author Topic: Senators: Iran-Russia Trade Deal Opens Floodgates for Nuke Materials, Weapons  (Read 211 times)

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Offline flowers

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ran and Russia’s recently announced $20 billion oil-for-goods trade deal has sparked concerns that Moscow is seeking to open up a direct line into Tehran for the import of sanctioned nuclear equipment and military hardware, shipments that would flatly violate the terms of the recently inked interim nuclear deal.

Tehran and Moscow are in the last stages of finalizing the trade deal, which would provide Russia with half-a-million barrels of Iranian oil a day. The deal would boost Iranian exports by as much as 50 percent a day, according to experts.

The trade deal could open the floodgates between the two nations and has sparked concerns that the trade pact will open a “channel for the transfer of sanctioned nuclear equipment or military hardware to Iran, not to mention other illicit financial transactions,” according to Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD).

The trade deal also led Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) to demand that the White House immediately reinstate harsh sanctions on Iran if it goes through with the deal and violates the interim agreement, which provided Iran with more than $7 billion in sanctions relief.

Both lawmakers and experts have expressed frustration that the Obama administration has stood on the sidelines as Iran exploits the interim deal for billions and continues an intense economic and military buildup that includes the testing of advanced ballistic missiles.

Iran has been exporting well above 1 million barrels of oil per day for the past five months despite repeated White House assurances that this would not take place under the interim deal.

News of the trade deal’s finalization came on the same day that Iran announced that its trade with Turkey exceeded $2 billion in just the first two months of 2014.

Menendez and Kirk, the principal congressional forces behind Iran sanctions legislation that is opposed by the Obama administration, expressed alarm “that the barter agreement [between Iran and Moscow] may provide for the transfer to Iran of items of significant value to Iran’s military and its nuclear program.”

They pressed President Barack Obama to “put Iran on notice that the United States is prepared to re-instate these sanctions should Iran attempt to evade our sanctions and violate the terms of the JPA.”

The trade deal could pave the way for Iran to acquire highly advanced Russian weapons systems, which Tehran has been seeking to purchase for months.

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