Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: An opening to resolve Iran nuclear problem

The interim deal the Obama administration helped reach with Iran marks the best opportunity to peacefully resolve the crisis over the country's nuclear program. The accord with the six world powers calls for Iran to temporarily freeze its nuclear program in exchange for limited concessions and a timetable for reaching a more comprehensive and lasting agreement. While a final deal may be tough to complete, this path is clearly better than a military confrontation over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Now Tehran must show it is serious.

The deal is intended as a first step toward a larger nuclear pact to be negotiated over the next six months. It halts the installation of new centrifuges, requires Iran to dilute its stockpile of higher-grade uranium (which is needed to produce a weapon) and caps the enrichment of higher-grade fuel. Major work at the Arak heavy-water plant is suspended for six months, and Iran is barred from testing or producing fuel for that reactor or putting it in operation. Iran also agreed to an unprecedented level of monitoring of its nuclear sites by international inspectors, making it all but impossible for Tehran to hide any weapons program. This is a meaningful agreement that provides both sides with the time and confidence-building steps necessary to pursue an enduring deal.

Critics in Congress and overseas, especially Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are blasting the agreement as a mistake. While the crippling effect of economic sanctions brought Iran to the bargaining table, sanctions are a tool, not a policy goal, and this diplomatic route is clearly preferable to continuing to face off with Iran. Though Tehran has a terrible record of transparency, this agreement would help bring Iran's nuclear program into the open through more intrusive inspections. By easing sanctions, which could return $7 billion to Iran's economy over the next six months, the United States is holding out a bone for Iranian moderates in the new government of President Hassan Rouhani, which could open lines of diplomacy across a range of issues from Syria to counterterrorism. And the talks provide a framework to bring Iran more fully into the global community. None of this can be accomplished through the threat of force alone.

The six-month timetable provides a reasonable time frame and an end date to negotiations. While the interim accord could be extended, both sides have face-saving reasons for moving in good faith toward a final deal. And new sanctions are always an option later on; if anything, the interim agreement raises the stakes for both sides to have something tangible to show for the diplomatic effort. Iran's new government would be foolish to test the allies' resolve. This deal forces the Iranians to move first, stalls the Iranian program for the first time in a decade and gets inspectors in on the ground. The administration seized an opening to resolve this crisis through diplomacy. It needs to be as clear-headed in the months ahead as Iran's true intentions become apparent.

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Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18