Rouhani at the UN 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
It is bound to happen. Disputes will inevitably emerge over how best to deal
with Iran’s nuclear program.
This week, an Iranian delegation is slated
to meet in Geneva with representatives of the P5+1 (the US, China, Russia,
Britain, France and Germany). The Iranians will reportedly bring with them a
compromise proposal for their nuclear program. And as the details of Iran’s
offer become known, differences of opinions both within the P5+1 and outside it
will develop over what precisely should be demanded of the Islamic Republic as a
condition for the easing of sanctions.
Without receiving a single Iranian
concession, Russia and China have pressed the US and the EU to begin scaling
back sanctions on Tehran. The rationale behind such a move, apparently, is to
Thankfully there are no signs Western countries are
ready to cave in to the foolish Russian and Chinese demand. Even the Europeans
have stood tough so far. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague announced last week
that Iran must take concrete steps to set aside its nuclear ambitions before
London rolls back sanctions.
However, few are calling to step up
sanctions. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who is
also America’s lead negotiator with Iran, urged the US Senate “to hold off on
imposing additional sanctions on Iran.” Conceivably, Britain, France and German,
not to mention China and Russia, would agree.
Some of the more
clear-thinking members of Congress are not playing along. Senator Mark Kirk, a
Republican from Illinois, declared “the State Department should not aid and abet
a European appeasement policy by pressuring the Senate to delay sanctions while
the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism races toward a nuclear weapons
Kirk and other US lawmakers – both Republicans and Democrats
– argue convincingly that as long as Iran pursues nuclear weapons capability,
builds longrange ballistic missiles and sponsors terror around the world,
maximum economic pressure will give diplomacy the best chance of
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent the same message to
his French and British counterparts over the weekend.
negotiations with the Iranians Tuesday, the P5+1 should be sending out a message
that additional sanctions are imminent unless real headway is made. The Iran
Export Embargo Act, for instance, which seeks to further curtail the purchasing
and transferring of goods and services tied to the Iranian government, should be
set in place for implementation before negotiations begin, so that the Iranians
know they have something to lose if negotiations
Unfortunately, it does not look like this will
What will happen, according to The Wall Street Journal, is that
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad
Zarif will offer a “package of proposals.”
How will the P5+1 react?
Inevitably, pressure will build to compromise with the Iranians. Arguments will
be made in favor of accepting Iran’s proposals and counterarguments will be made
against. In the process, a real danger exists that the coalition organized
against Iran’s nuclear weapons program will fall apart.
That must not be
allowed to happen. Western nations must stay united against Iran’s push for
nuclear weapons capability.
Sanctions are close to achieving the desired
result of forcing Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program peacefully. They
must be allowed to run their course. And a new round of sanctions should be
prepared now, in case Iran offers less than the minimum required to set the
Islamic Republic on the path to a full dismantling of its nuclear weapons