The Iranian election will soon be over and the US and our partners will find ourselves in the same place we were before the election. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I do not have high expectations that the election is going to change the fundamental calculus of Iran…The supreme leader will ultimately make that decision”.
The White House view is that though time is growing shorter there is still time for diplomacy to work. The question remains—how do we make diplomacy work in the little time we have left to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon? Put another way, are we doing all we can to make diplomacy work given the time constraints we have?
We have produced diplomatic sticks that are working well. We and our diplomatic partners have done well by enacting a web of sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s economy. We know the sanctions are working but they have not produced results at the negotiating table.
We are just beginning to lift a small set of sanctions in a targeted way that will ease the economic burden on the Iranian people. We do not know if these moves will either draw notice from the leadership or represent a change in Iranian negotiating behavior, which so far has proved to be intractable.
The hope is that the Iranian leadership will see our efforts to ease the burden on the Iranian people as proof of our ability to play diplomatic ball if they are ready to negotiate in good faith.
Pressure is growing to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem once and for all. Let’s hope all parties work hard to give diplomacy a chance to succeed.