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David Cortright: To Get a Deal with Iran, Suspend Sanctions

By: David Cortright, Win Without War Coalition Co-Chair and Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Some in Congress want to impose additional punitive sanctions on Iran. These are unnecessary and could scuttle the diplomatic process and strengthen Iranian hardliners. The proven strategy now is to offer partial relief from sanctions as an incentive to encourage Iranian concessions.

In recent years arms control and nonproliferation advocates have consistently, and I believe correctly, supported the use of sanctions to pressure Iran on its nuclear program. The US policy of gaining UN Security Council support for targeted sanctions and coordinating with European allies to impose additional economic pressures has been a significant diplomatic achievement. That policy now appears to be bearing fruit in the conciliatory gestures the new government of Iran is reportedly offering at the Geneva talks.

Some in Congress now want to impose additional punitive sanctions, which are unnecessary and could scuttle a diplomatic process that is just beginning to show promise. Punishing Iran for coming to the table would only strengthen the hand of Iranian hardliners who view negotiations with the United States as fruitless.

The appropriate strategy now is to offer partial relief from sanctions as an incentive to encourage Iranian concessions. The record of previous sanctions-based diplomacy shows that economic pressures work best in combination with incentives as part of a bargaining dynamic to reach diplomatic agreement. Economic and security inducements have been decisive in most nonproliferation successes. A purely punitive approach to sanctions does not work. Combining sanctions with incentives is necessary to achieve diplomatic success.

Take action: Tell your Senators not to undermine diplomacy with Iran! 

(Excerpted from The Christian Science Monitor. Read the rest here.)


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