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The only US policy on Iran that will work: common ground

The Christian Science Monitor

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A successful US policy on Iran will have to thread the needle between two camps – those who believe the US must do more to convince Iran it is wiling to compromise and those pushing for unrelenting pressure on Iran, even the threat of military strikes.

The policy debate about how to respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons was never about just Syria. It was also a dry run for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. But now that a military strike has been averted and a diplomatic deal struck, two very different lessons have been imputed from the experience.

A successful US policy on Iran will have to thread the needle between two camps – those who believe the US must do more to convince Iran it is wiling to compromise and those pushing for unrelenting pressure on Iran, even the threat of military strikes…

To incentivize a timely, positive response, the US should continue to exert maximum pressure on Iran through continuing economic sanctions and by keeping the threat of force as an option on the table. Indeed, a unanimous lesson from Syria is that the credible and immediate specter of military action can lend a sudden urgency to diplomacy.

But to best signal to Iran such American resoluteness – both in seeking peace and preparing for the worst – the president and Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, should unite behind a policy that lays out an acceptable deal while reaffirming their commitment to prevent a nuclear Iran, by all means necessary. Bipartisanship, and this is the real lesson from the Syria debate, is the ultimate form of credibility.

2013-09-26 00:00:00
The Christian Science Monitor