In anticipation of the swearing in of Iran’s new president, to take place this Sunday, I have a new piece up in The National Interest. You can read the piece in its entirety here.
Some snippets below…
Skeptical observers see the installation of a more moderate president as leading to more stalling by Iran, and will be quick to call for tougher action if a next round of talks does not quickly produce results. The administration should be cognizant of this limited time in its formulation of a stance concerning renewed discussions in the fall, and should begin to build support in Congress now for the presentation of a serious, mutually beneficial offer that represents both a positive show of faith, and a test of Iran’s new president.
There are real signs that the United States and its allies might have reason to be cautiously optimistic for the future of talks. But for this effort to work, the west must be willing to make a bold move. On Saturday, upon news of the Price-Dent letter, Rowhani tweeted approvingly that “131 [U.S.] Congressmen have signed a letter calling on President #Obama to give peace a chance with Iran’s new president #Rouhani.” Later in the day, he announced, again over Twitter, “National Security & Foreign Policy Committee of Iran’s Majlis [parliament] to look into potential change in US approach to Iran.” In this moment of change, there is no such thing as “negotiating with ourselves.”
In addition to careful consideration of its negotiating position going into the next round of talks, the administration must make a concerted effort to build support for a diplomatic approach in Congress, even if those efforts begin privately. After successfully working together to install the toughest sanctions regime ever in Iran, Congress and the administration must move together to leverage those sanctions and secure a deal.