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and repressive politics. Conversely, the moderates include intellectuals, portions of the bureaucracy, businesspeople, students, and members of the public who desire normalized diplomatic and economic relations. The moderates have a different “winning coalition” than the hardliners, and they hope to gain support of the general populace by providing public works and benefits through economic development and integrating into the global economy. By normalizing relations and showing that the US can be trusted, Obama hoped to strengthen the political credibility of the moderates while undermining the bellicose claims of the hardliners. Furthermore, the increased resources coming in from sanctions relief would be mostly under control of the moderates who were in control of the government. Thereby, the moderates could consolidate power, reducing the more significant threat of Iranian antagonism towards the US and Iranian desire to build a nuclear weapon. Although this gamble provided no certain victory, ripping the deal up has resulted in the opposite effect. Trump has weakened the coalition of moderates by denying them both the credibility of a successful deal and the economic resources to implement reforms, all the while proving the hardliners right that America is the enemy.¹³ CAN TRUMP NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL? It is unlikely that the deal will be conducted better than Obama’s Iran deal. More pressure and inducements face significant complications. A team of expert negotiators conducted the original deal over the course of three years.¹⁴ Regardless of qualifications, the specific personalities of negotiators have minimal impact on the results of such a deal. Instead, deal outcomes depend on the relative leverage of each party.¹⁵ A party with stronger leverage will be able to get a better deal by pressuring the other party into acquiescing to demands. The use of military leverage, or “big stick diplomacy,” faces considerable opposition from Russia and China, making military strikes with the aforementioned consequences the probable result.¹⁶ Another avenue for increased pres-

sure is waiting for the existing sanctions to take their toll on the Iranian economy and regime. This proposal runs into the same problem mentioned earlier; waiting decreases Iranian breakout time and therefore increases Iranian leverage. The limitations of waiting are shown in US foreign policy towards North Korea. North Korea has faced far more crippling sanctions for far longer than Iran yet nonetheless continues to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Next, there is the possibility of increasing the inducements offered to Iran. The US could promise more investment, but this is risky because the US doesn’t directly invest—companies do, and companies don’t always do what the US government wants them to do. Given the lack of follow-through on economic promises following the original deal, such commitments will be difficult for Iran to take at face value. The final option available is levying more substantial sanctions, which requires an understanding of how sanctions work. Sanctions are economic restrictions or punishments placed on other countries or entities of that country. These economic restrictions include bans on exports, imports, and travel; freezing assets; and implementing tariffs. Sanctions can signal support for opposition or disagreement with a policy, rally domestic support, or change other countries’ policies.¹⁷ In general, sanctions are more effective when they are multilateral, imposed by the UN, and have modest goals.¹⁸ Sanctions are also typically effective when they are targeted to members of the “winning coalition,” or the group that supports the regime.¹⁹ In Iran, the “winning coalition” includes the military and members of the elite, whom the Obama administration targeted by freezing assets and intercepting oil revenue that flowed to other members of the elites and the military. There were and are no other easy additional avenues for targeting the Iranian regime, leaving open options that cause extensive economic damage or are borne largely by the Iranian populace.²⁰ Sanctions would likely increase anti-US sentiment and cause a rally around the flag effect, strengthening the popularity of the regime and causing minimal damage to hardliners.²¹ Additionally, more sanctions would face op75

Profile for Rebuttal

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Profile for rebuttal
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