Last week, while meandering toward a fourth U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran, Washington was blindsided by the revival of a previously discarded plan to enrich some of Iran’s uranium to higher levels for use in the Tehran research reactor. This proposal—a good deal for Iran when it was proposed last year by the misguided Obama administration—is even better in its latest iteration and does nothing to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
The Iranian enrichment deal was brokered by Brazil and Turkey, two of the 10 current nonpermanent Security Council members, and it could pose difficulties for getting the council to adopt another resolution on sanctions. To forestall the debilitating effects of the Brazil-Turkey deal, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promptly circulated to other council members the draft of a sanctions resolution the five permanent members and Germany had spent months negotiating.
Unfortunately, the damage was done. Turkey announced that negotiations on sanctions should cease for 30 days and Brazil flatly proclaimed it would not even discuss the draft resolution. Since one good turn deserves another, China and Russia will now graciously acknowledge the Brazil-Turkey initiative and insist that the other permanent members enter serious consultations regarding the draft of the permanent five. Thus, having negotiated intensely for months with Russia and China, Mrs. Clinton can look forward to another opportunity to negotiate intensely with both them and their surrogates.