December 12, 2019 | National Post

Trump’s sanctions are the right way to take on Iran

Trump's maximum pressure campaign has precipitated a huge economic and political crisis for this regime with millions of people in the streets
December 12, 2019 | National Post

Trump’s sanctions are the right way to take on Iran

Trump's maximum pressure campaign has precipitated a huge economic and political crisis for this regime with millions of people in the streets

Iran is run by a brutal regime that is facing enormous economic and political pressure and millions of Iranians, Iraqis and Lebanese have been on the streets protesting against this regime. The response, characteristically, has been one of brutal repression. It’s a regime that brings into sharp relief the failed strategy of the Obama administration; the belief that somehow you could economically seduce the hard men of Iran to become pragmatic and responsible global stakeholders. This is an economic seduction strategy that we’ve tried with the hard men of Beijing and the hard men of Moscow. It’s a strategy of economic seduction that has failed repeatedly and it was certainly going to fail with respect to the Islamic Republic.

The other theory of the case that Robert Malley has both promoted and been the architect of is the whole idea of realignment, that we can realign the Middle East by supporting Iran as a moderating influence in the Middle East. In doing so, we would back away from the support we’ve provided to Israel and our traditional Arab allies. Again, this is a failed strategy because you cannot realign U.S. position in the Middle East by supporting such a dangerous, maligned and destructive regime.

You cannot realign U.S. position in the Middle East by supporting such a dangerous, maligned and destructive regime

It also underscores the fatally flawed JCPOA Iran deal that Rob was a key architect of. That deal gave patient pathways to nuclear weapons for the regime with sunset provisions under which key restrictions went away. It gave tens of billions of dollars to fill the coffers of this regime so that it could engage in dangerous regional activities, and it created a situation where in at least 10 years from now, we would be facing a much more dangerous Iran with an industrial-sized nuclear program and ICBMs, operating in a dominant regional position.

The Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign has precipitated a huge economic and political crisis for this regime with millions of people in the streets of the Middle East protesting against the regime, and a collapsing economy that is creating enormous difficulties for the mullahs to fund both butter for their people and guns for their terrorists. It’s also denied this regime money for their destructive and repressive activities. The United States is maximizing its negotiating leverage against a weakened regime and really providing an opportunity for Iran’s leaders to come back to the table to negotiate a much more comprehensive agreement that deals with the full range of Iran’s malign activities.

Now, Rob will say that it’s either the JCPOA or war, but clearly it was going to be the JCPOA and war against a much more dangerous and destructive regime. We are now in a situation where this regime is weakened. It’s on its heels, and we are in a position to push forward, maximize the leverage, and negotiate a much more comprehensive agreement that deals with Iran’s destructive and dangerous activities in the Middle East.

Mark Dubowitz (@mdubowitz) is the CEO of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. 

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Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Human Rights Iran Missiles Iran Politics and Economy Iran Sanctions Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Lebanon Sanctions and Illicit Finance