So Who Exactly Is For New Sanctions Against Iran?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 23 2015 @ 12:20pm

The Mossad believes that enacting AIPAC’s sanctions would be like throwing a grenade into the negotiating process. The British prime minister and all the big powers negotiating with Iran want to keep the talks going and believe new sanctions would bring about their collapse. The Iranian public overwhelmingly wants to retain a nuclear power program:

A near-unanimous majority (94%) of Iranians say that it is essential for Iran to make peaceful use of nuclear energy. Large majorities would oppose dismantling half of Iran’s centrifuge capability (70%) or accepting limits on nuclear research (75%). We found no significant difference depending on political preferences. In fact, those respondents who were more highly educated were more negative towards measures that would treat Iran differently from other NPT members that have promised not to develop nuclear weapons.

Our own foreign policy heavyweights want to have the talks run their course:

“[New sanctions] will break the talks,” said Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under Republican Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. “I think we should see them out and not take steps which would destroy the negotiations.” “I have a similar perspective,” said Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under Democratic President Jimmy Carter. “Iran is beginning to evolve.”

More to the point, if a sanctions bill were passed and it did break the talks, what then? Iran will have every incentive to intensify its nuclear weapon program, the forces for reform and democracy in that country will be dealt a huge blow, the sanctions regime that has worked so far would disintegrate … and the US would be blamed and the Iranians left off the hook. The alternative at that point is war, forced upon an unwilling president and a very jittery public, war against a de facto ally in the attempt to contain ISIS.

So who wants to break the talks and go to war? Bibi Netanyahu, Ron Dermer, AIPAC and the bulk of the GOP, but especially the neocons. They want another war in the Middle East, know they can’t persuade the public, and so are trying to force it by wrecking the talks with Iran. It seems perfectly obvious to me that if these talks break down, it must be because the Iranians finally balked. Not the Americans. We still have some months to go. Let this process play itself out. And leave a so-far-successful strategy toward Iran alone.