As published by the Middle East Institute by Mick Mulroy
Non-Resident Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Yemen Steering Initiative
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 was not a perfect agreement, but it did restrict Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon. It did not address the Iranians’ malign activities and their use of proxy forces to attack countries in the region or their ballistic missile program. The main concerns of our partners, the countries being attacked, were not included.
The decision to unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA in 2018 did nothing to stem the malign activities of Iran; in fact, they increased. And although the sanctions did damage the Iranian economy and reduce the money available for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to operate and fund groups like Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen, Iran is now closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon than it has ever been.
Trying to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and addresses their attacks on our key partners is an effort worth pursuing. But we need to consult our partners and realize that Iran has not changed and, with the recent attacks in Northern Iraq and Saudi Arabia, it is clear they do not intend to. We need an agreement that works for everyone, not just an agreement for the sake of having one.
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