The House of Representatives is currently considering putting forth a vote on additional sanctions on the Iranian economy. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has declared unequivocally that additional sanctions would mean “the entire deal is dead.”
Well, that seems to be the point. This piece in Al Monitor authored by Daniel Kurtzer and Thomas Pickering, two former U.S. diplomats, along with former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian, spells it out in plain English:
[I]f the West does not lift the specified sanctions or, worse, should US Congress or another country actually impose greater sanctions during this six-month period, it will be a clear sign that the West is not interested in a negotiated deal and that the United States has not distanced itself from a policy of regime change.
I argued something similar in a piece for Al Jazeera back in September. On the road to high-level diplomatic negotiations, Washington’s biggest obstacle was in convincing Iran we weren’t solely after regime change. Typically, rival states don’t engage in good faith negotiations if one is convinced the other is out to destroy their regime.
But Congress is doing everything in its power to make sure not to disabuse the Iranians of this view. They say it will strengthen the West’s negotiating hand, as if they are pretending not to hear the Iranians saying explicitly that talks will fall apart if more sanctions are imposed.