U.S. Heads for Final Nuke Negotiations as UN Confirms Iran Weapons Exports
United Nations investigators have determined that Iran has been violating the arms embargo as the U.S. heads back to the negotiating table with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.
Deputy Secretary William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman, and National Security Adviser to the Vice President Jacob J. Sullivan left today for Vienna, according to the State Department.
The delegation is barreling toward a July 20 deadline for a final agreement with Iran.
But Reuters reported Friday on a confidential report that found Iran shipping arms to Sudan.
The UN panel concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons, concealed on the Klos C and seized by Israel in March, originated from Iran and could have been headed to Sudan as a transit point for Gaza or points in Northern Africa.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) called the report “more evidence of Iran’s destructive and destabilizing role in the region."
"Iran was caught red-handed — this shipment is likely the tip of the iceberg. This report should be released for all to see," Royce said.
"During testimony in front of the Committee in March, Secretary Kerry pledged to take action once all the facts are known—I urge him to do so now," the chairman added. "Tehran has shown no interest in playing a constructive role in the region. Imagine an Iranian regime unrestrained by any international sanctions.”
At Monday's White House press briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest even downplayed the involvement of Iran in Iraq.
"It is not in the interest of Iran for there to be this sectarian strife, instability, these grotesque acts of violence and terrorism being perpetrated on their borders; that it’s in the best interest of Iran for there to be a -- for them to have a stable neighbor," Earnest said.
"And the best way for Iraq to be stable and to confront the destabilizing threat that’s posed by ISIL is for the political leadership in Iraq to come together and unite the country in the face of that threat. And by uniting the country and governing in an inclusive way, Iran can have the kind of stable neighbor on their border that they would like to have, that’s in the best interest of their country."
The Syrian Coalition, though, countered that the move of ISIS through Iraq was "Iranian-made."
"Assad, Iran’s arm in the region, was not predicting the outcome of the conflict, but was planning to create a new reality in the region with the help of his allies," said coalition vice president Nora Al Ameer.