An 'all-or-nothing' approach to pursuing a deal for sanctions relief with Iran would allow the "best to become the enemy of the good"
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Iran is seeking nuclear weapons for some combination of security, influ- ence and prestige. Persuading the Iranian leadership that renouncing the NPT and building, testing and deploying nuclear weapons will increase its isolation, diminish its influence and confirm its pariah status is the best way of dissuading the regime from crossing that threshold. This effort at per- suasion cannot really begin until the United States acknowledges that the Iranian programme probably will not be reversed, and commences prepara- tions to deal with the consequences.
An all-or-nothing American approach, one that insists on full roll-back of enrichment before any easing of sanctions can take place, risks allowing the best to become the enemy of the good, as neither the current nor any future regime in Iran is likely to accept restrictions over and above those required by the NPT. On the other hand, a full abandonment of sanctions in exchange for a promise not to weaponise, even if fully monitored, would still leave Iran out of compliance with other of its treaty obligations. Sanctions should, therefore, be deployed for both long- and short-term purposes. The long- term objective should be to bring Iran fully into compliance with the NPT. The short-term objective should be to halt the Iranian programme short of weaponisation.