Clinton announces Iran sanctions agreement

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate committee that U.S. officials have reached an agreement with U.N. Security Council members China, Russia, Britain and France for a draft sanctions resolution that will be sent to the full 15-member council later Tuesday.

The announcement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came one day after Iran offered a diplomatic proposal that many Western leaders view as an attempt to deflect the new round of economic strictures.

“This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken by Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide,” Clinton said.

Germany, a close ally though not a council member, also agreed on the draft.

Clinton said that though the United States acknowledges the efforts of Brazil and Turkey to assist with the new Iranian offer, “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,” Clinton said.

She said the Iranian proposal, under which Tehran would temporarily shift about half of its low-enriched uranium abroad, leaves “a number of unanswered questions.”

Clinton emphasized that Russia and China, who have been long resistant to sanctions, had agreed on the new proposal.

Even so, Russian and Chinese views on how quickly to push for adoption was not immediately clear.

Chinese officials on Monday hailed the Iranian proposal and said it should be fully explored.

U.S. officials have been openly predicting in recent days that they would complete the initial negotiations this week. They have forecast that the full council might act in June.

Many world powers believe that Iran has been secretly working to acquire bomb making know-how. Iran insists that its goal is entirely peaceful.