On Thursday, two members of Obama’s White House Staff will speak in front of the Senate Banking Committee proposing a temporary reduction in sanctions on Iran. The proposal comes in the midst of a recent negotiations between Secretary of State John Kerry and senior Iranian leaders to end Iran’s nuclear enrichment program in exchange for trade agreements and sanctions cuts with Washington.
Far from being partisan, most American citizens and politicians alike, Republican or Democrat, have come together on this issue.
Against the White House decision.
Nearly all have criticized the White House for being too bold, too radical, too enemy-loving for proposing to cut sanctions on Iran at this time.
From a logical point of view, this makes absolutely no sense. Diplomacy works like this: apply pressure until the opposing party is ready to compromise, then compromise. It does not, however, work like this: apply pressure until the opposing party wants to compromise, then apply more pressure while compromising. Iran’s leader Rouhani and his various foreign ministers’ have already reaffirmed their commitment to cutting the nuclear enrichment programs in exchange for cutting U.S. sanctions on Iran. The U.S. has therefore achieved the original goal behind the sanctions; it would be unnecessary and ruthless to the Iranian people suffering through these sanctions to continue their implementation when doing so when Iran has already agreed to come to the negotiation table.
Moreover, increasing sanctions at this point will only be counter-productive. Doing so, after all, will increase instability in Iran, making it harder for those under Rouhani’s regime to negotiate effectively. It may also reduce Iran’s motivation to negotiate; after all, Ayatollah Khamenei has proven suspicious of Rouhani’s decision to pursue engagement with the United States. Further provocations towards Iran make lead the Ayatollah to forbid further negotiations and proceed with nuclear enrichment plans.
Negotiating a treaty that can be enforced and that serves both sides interests will naturally take time and the U.S. should let this process run its due process. If anything, the United States should aim to further cut sanctions on Iran to create a more amiable environment for negotiations. Increasing the current level of sanctions or maintaining it would be a drastic mistake, making a deal more difficult to realize and leaving the United States, Iran, and the rest of the world to suffer with the prospect of increased permanent sanctions on Iran concurrent to continued Iranian nuclear enrichment goals that could soon yield nuclear weapons.
The American people and the American politicians must forget the heavy rhetoric with Iran and their deep-seated hatred against the country to take the logical step of supporting a temporary cut in sanctions on Iran.