The Trump administration needs to keep the pressure on Iran even if the two sides find their way to the bargaining table, including retaining touch sanctions on Tehran, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), an influential Washington think tank.
The FDD’s report, “What ‘Yes’ with Iran Looks Like,” explores what kind of deal the U.S. should seek in any new negotiation with Iran, saying any agreement must address Iranian behavior on nuclear weapons, its non-nuclear military programs, and its support for anti-U.S. proxies in the Middle East.
And “should Washington and Tehran meet, the Trump administration should not hesitate to add human rights into the mix,” the report added.
The report came on the same day Iranian officials claimed they will have over 660 pounds of low-enriched uranium in their possession by Thursday, which is above the level set in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that President Trump repudiated last year.
Trying to separate the nuclear issue from Tehran’s other policies, according to the report, risks repeating the Obama administration’s path: “limited nuclear restraints in exchange for no surcease to the Islamic Republic’s regional aggression and aggrandizement.”
“For Washington to know if an Iranian offer to negotiate is ‘genuine,’ it will need to look for indicators of macroeconomic contraction and political duress,” the FDD survey said. “The absence of those signs would surely mean that the offer is meant to buy time and offset sanctions pressure.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined a dozen demands on Iran in a speech last year that he said were pre-conditions for any direct U.S.-Iranian talks, an approach the FDD report praised.
“Broadening the scope of issues while increasing pressure is the only possible way the United States can severely weaken Iran’s theocracy at home and abroad to the point where Tehran will have no choice but to negotiate a truly comprehensive agreement,” the report said.