Iran and the international community are approaching the finish line in negotiations to roll back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Even at this late hour, however, American officials are far from unified on Iran policy, with members of Congress communicating deep concern that President Obama’s negotiators will settle for an inadequate deal. Many members of Congress and others are therefore pushing for tough new sanctions that they believe could compel Iran’s capitulation in the next several weeks.
Such a move, however, would be self-defeating. Tougher United States sanctions at this juncture would nearly eliminate Iran’s remaining commerce with Asia and Europe, exacting a significant financial toll on America’s allies in those regions. That could destroy the international coalition that has so successfully isolated Iran, and erode the leverage it derives from presenting a unified front.