All this involves then is an Iranian offer to start talks, talks which could break down in a few hours or go on for years without result. Of course, the first Iranian demand will be for easing the sanctions.
There is, of course, no solution. Sanctions--as a new Congressional Research Service study points out--aren’t stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons and long-range missiles able to deliver them onto targets. Diplomacy won’t work, except possibly for the fig leaf of having Iran own all the pieces for those weapons and simply promising not to assemble them. War is unattractive for the United States and, despite all you’ve heard, Israel, too. Does a scenario of the next U.S. president launching a major, long-term military operation against Iran seem likely, whether or not you'd like to see that happen, especially immediately after the end of two controversial, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
What’s most likely is that Iran will get nuclear weapons. And that makes it more important that whoever is conducting the containment and conflict strategy better be tough and credible to Tehran. The irony is that this Iranian ploy might well result in reelecting the man least likely to do that.