I outlined earlier today Republican responses to this week’s failed Democratic attempt in Congress to forestall a bill that would swap federal lands in Arizona with a copper mine.
The mining company, Resolution Copper, is owned by Rio Tinto, which has a majority stake in a Namibian uranium mine. Iran has a minority stake in the same mine.
I noted that GOP responses so far have been singularly weak — lots of talk about jobs in Arizona, about desperate Democrats, but nothing about the propriety of enabling a company that does business with Iran.
I thought this odd, because Rio Tinto, in its statement, seemed to proffer a plausible defense: Iran’s stake predates the Mullahs, and the Iranians can’t touch the uranium, the profits from the mine, or its technology.
Now I see at least one reason Republicans might have balked at these talking points: Democrats on the Resources Committee have come up with research that undercuts at least two of the claims.
There are reports that Iran is getting money from the mine, and Namibia’s leadership has been coy about whether the Islamic Republic gets the uranium. The Dems also wonder whether the Iranians might have remote — if not on-site — access to the mine’s technology.
Check out the committee Democrat’s web page. It’s forceful and to the point — and signals determination by the Democrats not to let this one go,