Sunday, December 10, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Give talks with Iran a chance

Diplomacy takes time. And when it comes to addressing Iran's nuclear program, Congress needs to give it. Congressional calls for tougher sanctions on Iran just days before talks are scheduled to resume in Geneva this week between the international community and Iran belie the modest progress made earlier this month in drafting a framework for an interim agreement. The Obama administration deserves more time to pursue a diplomatic route, a far preferable outcome than worsening relations or leaving this security risk as a regional matter for Israel and America's Arab allies.

After decades of sanctions that have crippled Iran's oil industry, particularly in recent years, President Barack Obama is right to explore a deal and test the new Iranian regime. Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, has set a moderate tone since taking office in August and he has practical reasons to consider a deal slowing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions. But talks between Iran and the six major powers — the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany — collapsed this month over what Iran said was a lack of regard for its "nuclear rights;" the United States blamed an Iranian lack of nerve. Still, the two sides agreed to meet again beginning Wednesday. Iran also agreed, in the run-up to this next round, to give U.N. inspectors additional access to Iranian nuclear sites.

On Thursday, those inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had slowed its nuclear expansion for the first time in years. That gives confidence that this is a promising window to try to restore relations and strike a comprehensive nuclear deal. And if the new talks fail, Congress can revisit sanctions then.

Israel and other critics of the administration's approach are right that sanctions drove Iran to the bargaining table. But that's exactly what sanctions are meant to do. And now that Iran's there, it's time to explore whether a comprehensive deal is possible. Otherwise sanctions become a never-ending exercise with no end result. Reaching an interim agreement that freezes the most advanced aspects of the Iranian nuclear program in return for a targeted easing of sanctions could create an environment for a comprehensive and peaceful end to Iran's nuclear ambitions. For the price of a few weeks, it's certainly worth a shot.

Comments

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

It has been 1,979 days since all heck broke loose in the flood insurance industry. Apparently, that just wasnít enough time for Washington to react. So with the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire on Friday, itís looking increasingly likel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Editorial: St. Petersburg should raise rates for reclaimed water

Raising rates on reclaimed water in St. Petersburg is an equitable way to spread the pain of paying for millions in fixes to the cityís dilapidated sewer system. The city has no choice but to start charging utility customers more as the sewer bills c...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17