What’s Next with Iran?

Almost immediately after announcing that the United States was done with JCPOA, the Trump administration also released their rationale for doing so and their plan for what comes next.

On Tuesday, President Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was one of the first world leaders to thank President Trump for his brave, and correct decision.

“This is why Israel thinks that President Trump did an historic moves, and this is why Israel thanks President Trump for his courageous leadership, his commitment to confront the terrorist regime in Tehran, and his commitment to ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons. Not today, not in a decade, not ever.”

I appreciate the support from Israel, because most of the rest of the world is unhappy with Trump’s decision. (One that I believe to be the correct decision.)

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My first question on hearing the news that the United States was leaving the Iran Deal was, “now what?”

Now, the question is, what happens next? The Trump administration will continue to search for ways to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions without sparking a new Middle Eastern war. Iran will not make this process easy – they openly call for the destruction of Israel, they literally pay terrorists to be terrorists, and they have been working to destabilize their neighbors at every turn. To put it plainly, Iran is hellbent on war.

If Trump thought getting North Korea to calm down was difficult, Iran poses an entirely new level of problems.

Almost immediately after announcing that the United States was done with JCPOA, the Trump administration also released their rationale for doing so and their plan for what comes next.

Why did Trump pull us out?

Iran’s bad faith and their aggressive behavior were the chief causes.

IRAN’S BAD FAITH AND BAD ACTIONS: Iran negotiated the JCPOA in bad faith, and the deal gave the Iranian regime too much in exchange for too little.

  • Intelligence recently released by Israel provides compelling details about Iran’s past secret efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which it lied about for years.
    • The intelligence further demonstrates that the Iranian regime did not come clean about its nuclear weapons activity, and that it entered the JCPOA in bad faith.
  • The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile program and did not include a strong enough mechanism for inspections and verification.
  • The JCPOA foolishly gave the Iranian regime a windfall of cash and access to the international financial system for trade and investment.
    • Instead of using the money from the JCPOA to support the Iranian people at home, the regime has instead funded a military buildup and continues to fund its terrorist proxies, such as Hizballah and Hamas.
    • Iran violated the laws and regulations of European countries to counterfeit the currency of its neighbor, Yemen, to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force’s destabilizing activities.

ADDRESSING IRANIAN AGGRESSION: President Trump is committed to ensuring Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon and is addressing the threats posed by the regime’s malign activities.           

  • President Trump will work to assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and to counter the totality of the regime’s malign activities.

    • Nations must work together to halt the Iranian regime’s destabilizing drive for regional hegemony.
      • In Syria, the Iranian regime supports the Assad regime and is complicit in Assad’s atrocities against the Syrian people.
      • In Yemen, the regime has escalated the conflict and used the Houthis as a proxy to attack other nations.
      • In Iraq, Iran’s IRGC sponsors Shia militant groups and terrorists.
      • In Lebanon, the Iranian regime enables Hizballah to play a highly destabilizing role and to build an arsenal of weapons that threatens the region.
    • The Administration’s actions are directed against the malign behavior of the Iranian regime, not against the Iranian people, who are the regime’s longest-suffering victims.
  • President Trump is making clear that, in addition to never developing a nuclear weapon, the Iranian regime must:

    • Never have an ICBM, cease developing any nuclear-capable missiles, and stop proliferating ballistic missiles to others.

    • Cease its support for terrorists, extremists, and regional proxies, such as Hizballah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qa’ida.

    • End its publicly declared quest to destroy Israel.

    • Stop its threats to freedom of navigation, especially in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.

    • Cease escalating the Yemen conflict and destabilizing the region by proliferating weapons to the Houthis.

    • End its cyber-attacks against the United States and our allies, including Israel.

    • Stop its grievous human rights abuses, shown most recently in the regime’s crackdown against widespread protests by Iranian citizens.

    • Stop its unjust detention of foreigners, including United States citizens.

The President’s team also released their plan of action for the coming days, which includes an almost immediate restoration of the sanctions we used to enforce on Iran.

Sec3.  Restoring United States Sanctions.  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury shall immediately begin taking steps to re-impose all United States sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including those under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, and the Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act of 2012.  These steps shall be accomplished as expeditiously as possible, and in no case later than 180 days from the date of this memorandum.  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury shall coordinate, as appropriate, on steps needed to achieve this aim.  They shall, for example, coordinate with respect to preparing any recommended executive actions, including appropriate documents to re-impose sanctions lifted by Executive Order 13716 of January 16, 2016; preparing to re-list persons removed, in connection with the JCPOA, from any relevant sanctions lists, as appropriate; revising relevant sanctions regulations; issuing limited waivers during the wind-down period, as appropriate; and preparing guidance necessary to educate United States and non-United States business communities on the scope of prohibited and sanctionable activity and the need to unwind any such dealings with Iranian persons.  Those steps should be accomplished in a manner that, to the extent reasonably practicable, shifts the financial burden of unwinding any transaction or course of dealing primarily onto Iran or the Iranian counterparty.

Sec4.  Preparing for Regional Contingencies.  The Secretary of Defense and heads of any other relevant agencies shall prepare to meet, swiftly and decisively, all possible modes of Iranian aggression against the United States, our allies, and our partners.  The Department of Defense shall ensure that the United States develops and retains the means to stop Iran from developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon and related delivery systems.

Sec5.  Monitoring Iran’s Nuclear Conduct and Consultation with Allies and Partners.  Agencies shall take appropriate steps to enable the United States to continue to monitor Iran’s nuclear conduct.  I am open to consultations with allies and partners on future international agreements to counter the full range of Iran’s threats, including the nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missile threats, and the heads of agencies shall advise me, as appropriate, regarding opportunities for such consultations.

It should be comforting to know that the Trump administration didn’t pull us out of the Iran deal without weighing all of the costs and benefits of their actions. It should be noted that they spent months working with our European allies in an effort to “fix” the deal, and that they notified those same allies before the news dropped that we’d be leaving the deal. Finally, the evidence seems to support the idea that the Trump team looked at this deal from every angle and at the end of the day the only rational course of action was to end our affiliation with the JCPOA.

This was obviously not a decision that the Trump administration made hastily, as it seems that the groundwork for leaving has been months in the planning. Hopefully, moving forward the Trump administration can find a way to constrain Iran that will actually make this world a safer place.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

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