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Congress Tries to 'Get Tough on Iran' but Plays Right Into Tehran's Hands

New sanctions make Congress look tough, but they also provide cover for unpopular economic measures the Iranian government desperately wants to enact.

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Although Iran’s internal politics are chaotic at present, in the long run the United States must engage Iran in dialogue about a whole host of issues – refugees, drug trafficking, environmental issues, regional security and containment of disease, to name just a few. The persistence of the Congressional clamor for these ineffective and meaningless sanctions only serves as a barrier to more productive relations.

William O. Beeman is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. He is past president of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association, and former director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. His most recent book is “The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other” (University of Chicago Press).

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