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The West's Unrealistic Optimism on Iran Sanctions

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The latest round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries came to a stalemate in Moscow last week, as the two sides once again failed to bridge their differences. Although the previous meeting in Istanbul generated some optimism that a mutually satisfactory solution to Iran’s nuclear program could be within reach, these hopes turned out to be premature in light of the negotiating positions the parties have taken over the past several months.

It is now obvious that Western powers were wrong to expect that increased unilateral economic sanctions on Iran could effect some change in Iran’s negotiating position and thus realize some of the West’s tactical, if not strategic, goals with regard to the country’s nuclear program. Specifically, the U.S. and its allies had hoped that Iran would agree to at least suspend its 20 percent uranium enrichment activities, ship its current stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium abroad and close its Fordo uranium enrichment center, all in return for fuel rods for Tehran’s nuclear research reactor and some other sweeteners, such as a lifting of the embargo on civilian aircraft parts. ...

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