Peter Beinart details how the Senate’s new Iran sanctions bill is designed to wreck diplomacy with Iran:
To suspend the sanctions, in other words, a final nuclear deal would have to include provisions that the governments of both Iran and the United States have already insisted it will not include.
It’s not surprising that the bill has set such a maximalist requirement, since the bill’s co-sponsors have previously expressed their opposition to allowing Iran to retain any enrichment capabilities. This is why no one should take seriously the claim of the bill’s supporters that they are interested in a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear issue. According to their own standard, they will only accept a deal with conditions that Iran has repeatedly stated that it will never accept, which means that no achievable final deal can avoid triggering the sanctions that they wish to impose. It is little wonder that Iran views the passage of a new sanctions bill as a deal-breaker. If the bill became law, it would mean that the U.S. had already reneged on commitments that it made in the interim agreement.
As I’ve mentioned before, another serious problem with the bill is the section that affirms U.S. support for a future Israeli attack on Iran. Beinart asks, “Why would a bill ostensibly designed to promote a diplomatic agreement simultaneously pledge American support for an Israeli attack?” No doubt there are many hawks that think that this demonstrates “resolve” and therefore should make Iran more cooperative, but the natural and predictable reaction to such a threat would be just the opposite. If Iranian legislators supported a measure that explicitly endorsed attacks on the U.S. or its allies as acts of “self-defense”, Americans would understandably view that as proof of their government’s bad faith and implacable hostility. Those that want diplomacy with Iran to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully should obviously want nothing to do with such a bill, which is how we know that its sponsors and supporters aren’t interested in peace.