President Barack Obama is eager to life sanctions against Iran. The Hill reports that a senior administration official says that sanctions will be lifted “quickly” if Iran meets western concerns about its nuclear program.
There is, actually, a case for lifting sanctions. A “carrot-and-stick” approach only works if there is a sizable carrot. If Iran does away with nuclear enrichment and complies with UN resolutions, it should be rewarded.
Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen–not just because Iran is likely to find ways of cheating on any deal, but because western negotiators are not even insisting on a complete halt to enrichment. And Iran is testing their resolve by agreeing to most conditions but refusing to ship enriched uranium abroad, meaning it would retain the ability to become a nuclear-armed state at a time of its choosing, regardless of any deal.
The truth is that President Obama is not that concerned about whether sanctions against Iran actually work–any more than he cared about fulfilling a 2008 campaign promise to maintain a residual force in Iraq before he withdrew totally. He promised “peace in our time” in his Second Inaugural, and despite the warnings of history, he meant it. He will not admit to having a policy of “containment” on Iran, but will allow it to settle into place.
As Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies told Ynet: “We are too desperate for a deal and Iran knows that. Iran has set the negotiation table by declaring that domestic enrichment at 3.5% is nonnegotiable….One day, at a time of its choosing, Iran will test a nuclear device. At that point, all of the sanctions will be gone, and Iran will be a nuclear weapons state with a powerful economy.”