September 25th, 2013
11:11 PM ET

Can Rouhani or Obama deliver on any deal?

By Fareed Zakaria

U.S. doubts about Rouhani’s power can be addressed only over time and through Iranian actions. But Iranians probably also have doubts — about Obama’s power. After all, the new Iranian president appears willing to cooperate on the nuclear issue in return for a relaxing of the sanctions crippling his country. But can Obama provide any such relief?

Iran has dozens of layers of sanctions arrayed against it. Some are based on U.N. Security Council resolutions, others are decisions by the European Union, others are acts of Congress and still others are executive orders by the U.S. president. Obama can unilaterally lift only the last, which are the least burdensome. The most onerous by far are the sanctions passed through acts of Congress, and those will be the most difficult to lift.

Read the full Washington Post column

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Topics: Iran

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