Unity against Iran

It is bound to happen. Disputes will inevitably emerge over how best to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

Rouhani at the UN 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
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 “build confidence.”
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 capability.”
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 succeeding.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent the same message to his French and British counterparts over the weekend.
Ahead of 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 breakdown.
Unfortunately, it does not look like this will happen.
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 program.