Michael Singh proposes a nuclear deal with Iran that Iran will automatically reject:

The unlikelihood of a change of heart by Iranian leaders suggests a second, more straightforward path to an agreement: requiring Iran to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for any relief from sanctions, which would be increased should Tehran refuse to yield. In this model, Iran would have to suspend enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities as demanded by the U.N. Security Council, dismantle its underground enrichment facility at Fordow and export its stockpiles of enriched uranium, among other steps.

Unlike many others that have proposed a similar deal, Singh at least acknowledges that U.S. negotiators consider this to be a maximalist and unworkable demand. That’s all that can be said in favor of his argument. While he asserts that the U.S. negotiating position is “reasonable,” he would have the U.S. make a demand that it already knows Iran won’t accept. It doesn’t matter that much whether or not Americans regard “zero enrichment” as a maximalist demand. The Iranian government does and will continue to regard it as such. The demand Singh wants would mean that the Iranians are being told to give up everything on the nuclear issue in exchange for lifting some sanctions*, they are being told to do this under threat of military attack, and they have to take the deal on pain of facing even harsher sanctions. As far as the Iranians are concerned, this doesn’t seem reasonable at all. If the positions were reversed, would it be politically possible for an American president to accept such a lopsided and humiliating deal? Obviously not. That makes it very strange that anyone would think that Iran’s government can be coerced into accepting it.

*Many observers have noted that several pieces of sanctions legislation have been written in such a way that the U.S. cannot lift all of them as long as Iran abuses its citizens and sponsors groups such as Hizbullah. That makes it much harder for the U.S. to deliver on its side of any bargain, and it gives Iran another reason to doubt that the U.S. will follow through on its part of an agreement.