Ambassador is a former U.S. special representative for Syria engagement and former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq; from 2013-2018 he was the Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute. He currently chairs the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program.
There are serious arguments for congressional rejection of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): symbolic, assuming a veto, to signal unhappiness with President Obama's Iran policy; or absolute, overriding a veto to topple the deal and focus Iran containment on a more credible U.S. military threat and closer regional relationships. But Congress should not reject the agreement assuming that the United States can then get a better deal. Who would negotiate it? Mr. Obama would have neither enthusiasm nor credibility, the Iranians no motivation to yield and the international community little interest in new negotiations or even continued support for our oil trade sanctions. We would be left with no restraints, rather than the JCPOA's limited ones, on Iran, eroding sanctions and little international support if force must ultimately be used against Iran.
James Jeffrey is the Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute.