On Iran, Kerry Pushes Diplomacy Over Sanctions 

Ahead of a second round of nuclear negotiations, Sec. of State John Kerry is urging Congress not to tighten sanctions on Iran.

On Iran, Kerry Pushes Diplomacy Over Sanctions 
U.S. State Department

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes the case to the world’s skeptics it’s time to negotiate with Iran, 

KERRY: “We are not blind, and I don’t think we’re stupid …”

It’s wary lawmakers at home he may have the toughest time convincing. (Via NBC

Kerry returned from talks in Geneva, Switzerland empty handed. Over the weekend, he and major world powers failed to produce a deal that would curb Iran’s nuclear program — but they’re hopeful a second round of talks next week will do the trick.  (Via RT, ABC

Any deal would likely involve Iran scaling back some of its nuclear activity in exchange for some modest relief in tough international sanctions. But here’s the thing, back in Washington, some in Congress are looking to dial up those sanctions. (Via ITN

GRAHAM: "We believe that sanctions and the threat of military force are the only things that are going to bring the Iranians to the table … If you back off now, you're sending the worst possible message." (Via CNN)  

​Iran’s economy is already suffering under sanctions in place since 2006. The logic is, imposing more sanctions would be the final straw — enough to at least convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. (Via Press TV

The House has already passed a bill to cut further Iranian oil exports, but the Senate has agreed to hold off until after a briefing by Kerry. But with both Republicans and Democrats in the upper chamber calling for tougher action, he’ll have an uphill battle convincing them extra sanctions will have the opposite of their intended effect.

As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put it: ""Resolving this diplomatically is the best way. ... Americans don't want a march to war."

The White House argument is an interesting one. The administration says the current sanctions are what brought Iran to negotiate in the first place — but at the same time, additional sanctions undermine future negotiations and even backfire.

As The Wall Street Journal boils down the argument : “The White House is employing the same argument it used against critics of talks on Syria's chemical weapons—that to shun diplomacy is to favor military force, which many Americans oppose.”  

Kerry slated to testify before the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday. Talks with Iran resume on November 20.