The U.S. House is doing its best to torpedo a valid foreign policy objective — establishing dialogue with Iran — by passing legislation that seeks to damage the country’s economy further just as a new, more-reasonable president, Hassan Rouhani, is taking over.
Mr. Rouhani looks a lot better than his predecessor, the radical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As the most liberal of six candidates, Mr. Rouhani won Iran’s presidential election in June.
He says he is ready to resume talks with the United States and the rest of the world about Iran’s nuclear program. Iran claims the program is peaceful, although it appears to be working to develop a nuclear weapons capacity.
The United States has imposed damaging economic sanctions against Iran, intended to press it to drop its nuclear effort. Last week, the House voted to impose even stricter sanctions against Iran’s oil industry and banking sector. Those sanctions would punish not only Iran, but also countries that seek to do business with it.
Iranians resent America’s economic sanctions against them. Tehran remains unlikely to give up its nuclear program completely. Congress should get out of the way of America’s effort to establish a fresh dialogue with Iran and its just-inaugurated president.