The bipartisan group of federal lawmakers pursuing what they call an “insurance policy” in the event international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are unsuccessful ought to stand down.
Diplomats from the United States, Iran and five major powers worked out details over the weekend of an interim agreement intended to halt Iran’s progress on its nuclear program while negotiations continue on a permanent agreement to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
A permanent agreement will be immensely difficult to achieve, and progress thus far reflects the commitment of the so-called P5-plus-1 — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — to reach a breakthrough with Iran.
While the U.S. lawmakers’ skepticism of Iran is understandable, the U.S. State Department makes a good case that threatened congressional sanctions are more likely to undermine progress than motivate Iran to come to terms. The threat of congressional sanctions also could erode the united international front that has successfully, at least so far, pressured Iran.
If additional sanctions against Iran are eventually called for, that will be apparent to all. In the meantime, lawmakers ought to let the negotiators do their work.