This is based on academic training and research conducted on an independent basis, sometimes discussed with formal institutions at their request, implicitly and more directly, if the analysis remains that of the author.
History can be used and misused in many ways, if obviously one would prefer to use it correctly.
Some prefer to use quantitative methods as to uses of history, if there are serious issues as to how to collect each historical case and assign values, which means that qualitative analysis has a place, as the former method involves meta-level choices that are not quantitative in character.
As a brief example, clearly we are trying to change Iran's behavior, and if one wishes to use history to make for an optimal policy, then that raises a difficult question of what are the cases one would use for a quantitative model, proliferation cases only, which might be on the edge of a valid N, certainly barely reaching the "magical number of 30," or would one look at deterrence cases, or case of coercive diplomacy, the latter defined as diplomacy with at least serious economic sanctions teeth and usually military fangs that are at least hinted at with some credibility as to actual execution.
Turning to the case at hand with Iran, several examples seem pertinent.
First, Roman diplomacy in the East with the Parthians, as to general lessons of imperial policy.
Rome and Parthian power had grown into each other during the first century before Christ, colliding first under Lucullus, and then with grave force with the defeat of L. Crassus at the battle of Carhae in 53 B.C., in which six legions of 40,000 men total were massacred, losing their Aquilas, their standards, in the process, an affront of grave import for Rome, if it took twenty five years for Caesar Augustus to get around to dealing with that issue.
Caesar Augustus thought Rome big enough as it was once he had completed his conquests of the Rhine-Danube basin, and so although he showed fangs to get the standards back and thereby maintain Roman prestige and therefore he most assuredly thought deterrence, he didn't mainly rely on military threats, but arrangements over Armenia as a buffer state, somewhat strategically similar in character now as to power locations as Iraq. Armenia was to be friendly to both, as a buffer state, if in current terms that would mean the loss of Syria for Iran.
As to the alternative Roman example, there was the policy of Trajan and Aurelius, both of whom campaigned far enough to sack Ctesiphon, the Partian capital, although both of them found such a campaign indigestible in the long run, something to think about now carefully, if air and naval strikes of course change the meaning of geography's relationship to military power, if not completely at all, as it is geography that rather often underlies State interests in such matters.
As to the other example that seems worth remembering, it is the run-up to war between America and Japan prior to December 7, especially for all the enthusiasts of sanctions.
For a variety of reasons, the American power elite, especially in the Navy, had always looked somewhat askance at the rise of Japan; hence the construction of the actual war plan of WWII, War Plan Orange, in around 1915, on the theory that rivalry over seapower and China would lead someday to a collision, which showed a lot of foresight in Rhode Island at the War College, if it also might have been something of a self-fulfilling prophecy too.
As with Rome and Parthia, to define someone as a threat often makes them a threat.
In any event, as Japan expanded its conquests in China, for a variety of reasons, America attempted for a variety of reasons to limit and reverse that process, in which escalating sanctions were used due to extreme Japanese dependence on American oil and iron-steel.
As the sanctions escalated, like now with Iran, increasingly Japanese saw the matter as fight or de facto surrender, which made it very important if avoiding war was the goal for Roosevelt to offer not just the club of sanctions, but also a diplomatic offer that the Japanese would accept.
By insisting on a total Japanese withdrawal from all of China, instead say North of the Wall, Roosevelt put the Japanese in a difficult position, because so many Japanese had died in military operations in China that the regime feared a total loss of face should they give in to that pressure.
Moreoever, as to there being zero guarantee that peaceable sanctions won't elicit the other sides preemptive strike, as with Japan on December 7, as that fateful year 1941 developed, America deployed strike aircraft to deter, just as we might do with Diego and have done with naval strike forces already.
In the end, if a State has a powerful enough motive to acquire nuclear weapons, getting it to back down is not easy at all, as also demonstrated by the example of Pakistan and North Korea, although having both really powerful clubs and nice digestible carrots is then about as good as it gets some would argue from historical experience, as to buffer states and some settlement with the Palestinians in return for zero nuclear weapons capability and no more proxy wars near Israeli territory.