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Doubtless some who advocate for sanctions are really closet fatalists who have no faith that the sanctions will actually work. They push for sanctions mainly to forestall what they fear even more than a nuclear Iran: a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran.

Putting all our Iranian eggs in a sanctions basket would be worse than naive. It would be a sham. It would give Iran time to get the bomb and crowd out more serious actions that could pressure the regime to change. That would be a shame … for freedom-loving Iranians and for all those who truly love peace.

Kim R. Holmes, a former assistant secretary of state, is a vice president at the Heritage Foundation ( and author of “Liberty’s Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st Century.”