January 20, 2015

Obama vows to veto Iran sanctions as Zarif sees Kerry

Featuring Ilan Goldenberg

Source: Al-Monitor

GENEVA — It is testament to the focus and intensity with which the US and Iranian administrations are pursuing a nuclear deal that within a few hours on Jan. 16 the following occurred: President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking at the White House, made a forceful case against prospective new congressional Iran sanctions, saying they could derail talks for a negotiated agreement that is the best shot at ensuring Iran not pursue nuclear weapons. US and Iranian negotiators met here for a third day to try to advance elements of a framework document for a final nuclear accord. And, oh yeah, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met for an hour in Paris — their second meeting of the week.

For an administration that admitted it more or less forgot to send a high-level VIP to Paris last weekend for the unity march after the terrorist attacks on a satirical newspaper and Kosher grocery, the Obama administration cannot be accused of neglecting the potential diplomatic opportunity to reach an Iran nuclear accord, even as on Jan. 16 Obama put the odds of getting the final deal at “probably less than 50/50.”

Still, Obama argued Jan. 16, why risk new sanctions now that could jeopardize the best shot the United States has ever had at a diplomatic resolution of the Iran nuclear issue, with nothing to be gained?

“If, in fact, we still have an opportunity to get a diplomatic deal that provides us verifiable assurances that they are not developing a nuclear weapon, that is the best possible outcome that we can arrive at right now,” Obama said.

Read the full article at Al-Monitor.

  • Ilan Goldenberg

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Ilan Goldenberg is Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is a foreign policy and defense expert with ext...