By Fareed Zakaria
In theory, it's possible to devise a rational process that requires concrete actions from Iran, verifiable checks by inspectors, and then a reciprocal easing of sanctions by the United States. But that would require Congress to behave in a rational manner – which is clearly a fantasy today. The most likely scenario is that any agreement with Iran – almost regardless of its content – would instantly be denounced by Republicans as a sell-out.
The Obama administration is conscious of this other side of American government. Much of the macho rhetoric emanating from the administration about Iran has seemed designed to inoculate it from charges of being soft. The reality is that it remains unclear whether Iran can say yes to a nuclear deal – and it remains equally unclear whether the United States could say yes as well. Rouhani and Obama are probably each looking at the other and thinking the same thing: Can he deliver?