December 18, 2014

No need for new sanctions on Iran

By Ilan Goldenberg

As the 113th Congress wraps up and the new Congress prepares for the start of 2015 it is evident that one of the central early debates on foreign policy will revolve around new sanctions on Iran.  The sanctions regime imposed by Congress and implemented by the Obama administration played a significant role in bringing Iran to the table and getting an agreement on the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA).  However, new sanctions now would be poorly timed and reduce the probability of a positive outcome. 

First, new sanctions at this moment are likely to lead to less flexibility from the Iranian negotiators.  Sanctions are a useful stick to bring a party to the table, but to be used effectively they must be a stick that can be credibly lifted.  One of the major challenges in the current negotiations is that the Iranians do not believe that even in the event of a deal the United States Congress will ever lift sanctions.  This is particularly true of the ultimate decisionmaker in Tehran –Supreme Leader Ali Khameini – who is a notoriously suspicious of the United States.  New sanctions now would only reconfirm his worst suspicions. 

Read the full op-ed at The Hill.

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • September 25, 2019
    Trump’s Iran Policy Is a Failure

    This month’s attack on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities marked a stunning escalation of tensions in the Middle East. The scale, sophistication, and accuracy of the strikes all ...

    By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas

  • Commentary
    • The Atlantic
    • September 23, 2019
    The Most Dangerous Moment of the Trump Presidency

    For all of the uncertainty of the Trump administration’s nearly three years in power, genuine international crises have been rare. That’s changing right now. The attack a week...

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Podcast
    • August 2, 2019
    Ilan Goldenberg on Iran, Europe, and the United States

    CNAS Senior Fellow and Middle East Security Program Director Ilan Goldenberg joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend for an in-depth look at the current situation in the ...

    By Ilan Goldenberg, Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Jim Townsend

  • Reports
    • June 26, 2019
    Escalation or Negotiation?

    In May 2019, the Center hosted an all-day tabletop exercise to game out three scenarios related to the crisis surrounding U.S.-Iran tensions over Iran’s nuclear enrichment pro...

    By Elisa Catalano Ewers, Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras & Kaleigh Thomas

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia