"The potential upside of legislating further sanctions is the hope that increased pressure might elicit more concessions or push Iran to conclude a more favorable deal. But this is unlikely. The potential downside is more likely and more dangerous: Iran's decision makers could conclude that the United States government was not negotiating in good faith—a view that Iranian hard-liners already espouse. This could prompt Iran to walk away from the negotiations or counter with a new set of unrealistic demands while redoubling its efforts to produce nuclear weapons," write Carl M. Levin (D-MI) and Angus S. King (I-ME) in the New York Times.
"The administration has argued that those pushing for more sanctions on Iran are putting the country on a path to war and new sanctions now will cause the interim deal with Iran to fall apart. After hearing that argument, poll respondents still favored proceeding with new sanctions by a 63-28 margin, including 56 percent of Democrats, with just 36 percent opposed," writes Josh Rogin in the Daily Beast.
"In earlier responses to proposed Iran sanctions legislation on Capitol Hill, Obama administration officials had accused the bill's backers of lending de facto support for what White House press secretary Jay Carney called a 'march to war.' Such talk has infuriated even some Democrats. Obama's tone was much softer Tuesday. Rather than make accusations—that 'risks of war' line was far more generalized than Carney's language—he struck a more defensive tone, assuring Congress and the country that he's not naive about diplomacy," writes Michael Crowley in Time.
Philippines Says Dozens of Islamists Killed in Army Offensive
CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick explains in this blog post why Thailand is undergoing an "unannounced coup."
South and Central Asia
Outrage in India Over Rape Remarks
Asha Mirje, a female politician and member of a government panel for women, caused outrage after blaming a woman's "clothing and behavior" for rape. Mirje later apologized. Rape has come to the forefront of public attention in India, where the crime is recorded every 22 minutes (BBC).