Congress also needs to realize that further sanctions at this time and the removal of presidential waiver authority will send the wrong signals to Iran and undercut our diplomats at the negotiating table. If Washington is talking about giving diplomacy a chance, while tightening the sanctions screws at the same time, Tehran is unlikely to trust that the United States is negotiating in good faith.
The departure of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and arrival of Rouhani sets the stage for major progress on the Iran nuclear standoff. It’s time for the United States to give Rouhani a chance to follow up on his words with concrete actions that reassure the international community that Iran will not build nuclear weapons. And it’s time for Washington to demonstrate to Tehran that meaningful sanctions relief will be provided in exchange for limits to the nuclear program.
In short, it is time to stop talking about the perfect, impossible agreement and start talking about the kind of deal that is possible with real-world diplomacy and pragmatic way to secure U.S. interests.
Greg Thielmann is a senior fellow and Kelsey Davenport a nonproliferation analyst at the Arms Control Association.