Hassan Rohani, a moderate cleric, is set to take office as Iran’s president on Sunday. Some say new sanctions send the right message about Iran’s nuclear program, while others say they could stifle any improvement in relations.
When Iran elected a moderate cleric to succeed the fiery Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the country’s president last month, President Obama sought to encourage what some saw as an important political shift by calling for improved US-Iran relations.
Mr. Obama said the election of Hassan Rohani opened the way to “a more serious, substantive” relationship with Iran – interpreted widely as the president’s hope that the United States and Iran might add bilateral negotiations to international talks on Iran’s nuclear program.
But now that Mr. Rohani is about to take office as Iran’s president, some in Congress want to send a different signal to Tehran by approving a new round of sanctions aimed at further stifling the Iranian economy. Rohani is set to be inaugurated Sunday.
Which is the better approach for getting Iran to accept internationally verifiable limits on its nuclear program?