As the P5+1 advance from the latest round of Geneva nuclear talks, the media is raising some interesting arguments concerning the future of the sanctions regime. In fact, Geneva seems to have become a backdrop for the main event: the sanctions dispute in Washington between Congress and the White House, which appears for now to have been won by the latter.
The baseline is well articulated by Bloomberg‘s Jeffrey Goldberg: sanctions are what brought Tehran to the table, and they’re what will bring it toward compliance with international demands. His colleague Stephen Carter goes further, accusing the Obama administration of “trying to have it both ways” by casting doubts on the effectiveness of both military action and stronger sanctions in altering Iran’s behavior.
The real challenge in this context, of course, is the ripple effect beyond US shores in the direction of Europe and other regions – beginning within the P5+1 itself. As pointed out by the New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink:
world powers are ultimately competing among themselves for Iran market, so as deal comes closer, their unity could come under pressure
Of course, Washington is conscious of the risk; according to Ha’aretz, the US plans a campaign to prevent the sanctions regime from collapsing entirely if the preliminary agreement with Iran is signed.
Be that as it may, the message being projected from within the Beltway – intentional or not – has already reached the European Union, which decided to renew sanctions already imposed on Tehran rather than consider new ones. No wonder, what with reports indicating that firms in the US itself prepare to set up shop in Iran.
We recommend the media follow this sanctions ripple effect, which – if left unchecked – could surpass the pace of Iran’s hoped-for nuclear compliance.