The Nuclear Deal Is a Chance to Change Iran's Behavior

(National Interest) Sima Shine - A key question facing Western decision-makers is how to make sure that the years gained by the nuclear agreement with Iran will be utilized to bring about a substantial change in its policy - in the regional theater, in its support for terrorism, and in its treatment of its citizens. When the economic pressure generated by the sanctions and concern about their escalation became concrete, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei realized that push had come to shove, and he approved the opening of secret talks with the U.S. in Oman. Some important conclusions can be drawn from this development: The ultimate decision-maker was and remains the supreme leader. He is strong enough to force acceptance of an agreement that had many opponents. And, what is particularly important, he is rational, and weighs costs against benefits. While the West lacks real and immediate tools for contributing to the empowerment of the Rouhani faction, it does have tools for influencing the Revolutionary Guards which is responsible for problematic Iranian regional policies, its involvement in terror, and its violations of human rights. To do so, the West, led by the U.S., needs to formulate a plan of action in every one of the theaters in which the Revolutionary Guards are active. Deny them achievements in Syria and Yemen; emphasize to investors the risks incurred in economic agreements with the straw companies established by the Revolutionary Guards, and at the same time ease the way for cooperation with legitimate companies; respond resolutely to Iran's cyberattacks and set a red line with actions, not words; take action against Iran's continued supply of weapons to Hizbullah and the Houthis; and take action against the regime's repression of journalists, artists, ethnic minorities, the Baha'is, the gay and lesbian community, and human rights in general. The concern that a response to Iranian acts of defiance might cause Iran to back out of the nuclear agreement is baseless. Over the next few years the Iranian regime needs stability more than anything, which is essential to significant improvement in the Iranian economy. The years during which the nuclear agreement has kept a distance between Iran and the bomb must not go to waste without bringing about a real change in its policy. The writer, a senior research fellow in the Institute for National Security Studies, was until recently the deputy director general of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, responsible for the Iranian file.

2016-08-08 00:00:00

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