Unenthusiastic Agreement

December 19, 2020 | Category: Uncategorized

In short, all other things are the same, it seems unlikely that Iran`s policy towards the region will change only as a result of a nuclear agreement with the P5-1. There is no particular reason to believe that Iran is ready to throw in the towel in any of these places. But there is also no reason to believe that Iran wants to strengthen its aggressive engagement in one of these states, but that it has been prevented in some way by the nuclear negotiations. As this analysis suggests, I think Iran`s most likely path after a nuclear deal will be to pursue the same regional strategy it has adopted over the past three years. This strategy is, in many ways, in the interests of the United States and its allies. But the danger is far greater: the risk of Iran interpreting U.S. behavior after a nuclear deal as a sign of a further withdrawal from the Middle East. If so, it is very likely that Iranian targets will become more expansionist and their policies more aggressive, because she believes that the United States will not be ready (or able) to block their movements. Therefore, the main variable in Iran`s regional behavior after an agreement could be the reaction of the United States and not anything that stems from Iran`s own strategy or policy. Mr. President and Honourable Senators, I am honoured to be able to appear before you to discuss the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) with Iran and, in particular, its regional implications. I think that is the most important aspect of the agreement. That is why I think it is essential that the United States be prepared to shape the regional environment to ensure that the JCPOA contributes to American security rather than undermines it.

For me, this will be determined primarily by America`s behavior in the region according to the JCPOA, and not by the specific conditions of the agreement itself. This agreement will probably be concluded or broken on the battlefields of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, not in the centrifuge rooms of Natanz and Fordov. It is important to start assessing the regional dynamics following an Iran nuclear deal, asking how Iran itself will likely behave. As always, we must be very humble about our ability to predict Iran`s future behavior. Iran has an opaque and confused political system, torn apart by factions and led by a supreme leader who has often made decisions by not making decisions or dividing the salomonian baby. Indeed, it seems very likely that once the JCPOA has been agreed by all parties, there will be a debate on Iran`s foreign policy in Tehran (as is always the case), with moderates and reformers arguing that Iran should use the agreement as the beginning of a greater process of reopening the world and even rapprochement with the United States.

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