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US Will Face Consequences If Congress Rejects Deal
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US Will Face Consequences If Congress Rejects Deal

If the US Congress votes down the nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama could rapidly find himself facing many negative reverberations, including a painful predicament with China, current and former US officials said.

China, one of six world powers that negotiated with Tehran, has reduced the amount of Iranian oil it buys, as demanded by the US sanctions law.

If Congress scuttles the July 14 nuclear agreement, energy-hungry Beijing is likely to conclude diplomacy has failed, break free of sanctions restraints and increase Iranian oil imports, the officials said.

Obama would have to decide whether to sanction China and add new troubles to bilateral relations - or let the architecture of restrictions on Iran unravel.

“You will rapidly find that we will have to make sanctions decisions that are not very attractive,” said Richard Nephew, until recently a top US State Department and White House sanctions official.

The China example is just one of numerous consequences expected if Congress were to block the Vienna agreement, which offers Iran relief from sanctions in return for temporary limits on its nuclear work, US officials and European diplomats predicted.

They include a possible trans-Atlantic schism over the issue; Iran’s nullification of the deal and its rapid resumption of large-scale nuclear enrichment; and even US court battles over the sanctions.

The White House is fighting for the agreement - which would be a legacy achievement for Obama - and has plenty of motivation to cast the alternatives as dire.

The US president has depicted the choice as “between diplomacy or some form of war” with Iran, but European allies and many outside analysts agree that scuttling the deal would be costly.

“That would be a big, big, big blow to the United States in the world. It would also be bad for the whole Middle East, bad for Israel,” former European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who helped launch the first nuclear talks with Iran in 2004, told Reuters.

 

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