Iran and world powers ended this week's talks on Iran's nuclear program with smiles, a rare joint statement that raises hopes for a diplomatic resolution of the standoff, and a pledge to meet again early next month to begin hammering out an actual deal.
Now, over to the bad cops.
Senior US diplomats at the Geneva talks that wrapped up Wednesday said they will take the details of what was discussed – in particular the specifics of Iran's proposed step-by-step plan for easing international concerns about its nuclear activities – to Congress and to worried US allies, including Israel.
The "carrot" the US could present is the $50 billion in foreign-held cash that Iran holds but to which it currently has very limited access. In essence, Iran could be paid with its own money for verifiable concessions on its nuclear program, says Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington.
The attractiveness of this idea is that it would leave sanctions in place until Iran has taken enough verifiable steps reversing its nuclear progress to satisfy Congress, while leaving the US the option of rewarding Tehran for interim confidence-building steps, according to Mr. Dubowitz.