Iran and Unintended Consequences
By Laicie Heeley
August 19, 2013
In their Aug. 13 op-ed, Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Eliot Engel claim that “Without Stronger Sanctions, Iran Will Go Nuclear.” Both this claim and the argument it supports are misleading.
What Sen. Kirk and Rep. Engel fail to recognize is that further pressure will not make Iran more likely to “play ball” with the U.S. Piling on further sanctions at this time is likely to have the opposite effect, providing firepower to anti-American hard-liners within Iran and derailing any efforts by Iran’s newly inaugurated president, Hasan Rouhani, to generate good will.
Strong international sanctions, the strongest ever imposed on a country, have been successful in bringing Iran to the table. Now is the time to capitalize on the leverage gained from these sanctions and secure a deal.
We must pause new sanctions in order to truly test whether Iran’s new president is ready to act in good faith. This action does not preclude future economic action but does incentivize good behavior. The risk associated with imposing new sanctions at this moment is too great.
If Congress continues to push a sanction-after-sanction agenda, it could achieve the opposite of its stated purpose, pushing Iran one step further from negotiations and one step closer to the bomb.
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