The IAEA has issued an upbeat statement today about “very productive” talks they’ve held with Iran’s nuclear officials, the latest in a series of promising developments on negotiations with Iran.
The prospects of an Iranian deal are growing, but could be killed at any time, many fear, by the US Congress and its reluctance to allow any deal to move forward. They have ruled out easing sanctions, and continue to push for new sanctions in the middle of the talks.
Sen. Robert Menendez (R – NJ) announced his latest plan to members of AIPAC, a top Israel lobbying faction, saying the goal of his new sanctions would be to cut Iran’s oil exports in half within the next year. Menendez insisted that Iran has to dismantle its entire civilian nuclear program before there is any consideration of easing sanctions.
That’s the Israeli government’s position as well, and consequently AIPAC’s position. The White House is petitioning AIPAC and other major Jewish groups to agree to a delay in new sanctions in an effort to save the talks.
Convincing AIPAC isn’t going to be easy, but the assumption is that getting them on board means getting Congress on board as well, since materially all of the hawkish Congressmen pushing sanctions and calls for war are using Israel’s position as justification.