The early Sunday morning “deal” with Iran already began to show signs of being a big mistake even before the sun rose in Geneva. That is because Washington and Tehran do not even agree on what it was they agreed on regarding the most important issue – the enrichment of uranium.
Speaking on Iran’s state-owned Press TV on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “In the final step, the enrichment process will be accepted and at the same time all the sanctions will be lifted.”
Secretary of State John Kerry, however, had a much different view when he appeared on the ABC News program “This Week.” There is no agreement yet on the enrichment process, he said. Rather, “there will be a negotiation over whether or not they could have a very limited, completely verifiable, extraordinarily constrained program, where they might have some medical research or other things they can do, but there is no inherent right to enrich” uranium, he said.
The folly of trying to negotiate a deal with Iran should be obvious.
It is the deal in place, however, and now it needs to play itself out, one way or the other.
What trouble us are the moves in Congress, especially by Republicans and Democrats on the right, to impose even more sanctions, rather than allow the agreement to ease those already in place. It is not the thought behind it that is troubling; it is the blatant political pandering that is odious.
The United States and its allies have been imposing ever more stringent sanctions on Iran, with the blessing of the Congress of the United States, for many years now. Sanctions have only one goal: to bring the recalcitrant nation (in this case, Iran) to the negotiating table. Well, they worked; Iran came to the table. To argue that even more sanctions be imposed now that the earlier ones succeeded is like saying, “We beat you over the head until you complied; now that you complied, we will beat you over the head for complying.”
The politicians in Washington and elsewhere cannot have it both ways. They wanted sanctions; they got sanctions. Now they say they are unhappy that the sanctions worked. It is absurd.
It is also destructive.