November 9, 2015 | Quote

‘McDonald’s Diplomacy’: The Nuclear Deal Has Emboldened Iranian Hardliners

The Iran nuclear deal, the optimism went, could help open up the country to the West. It could soften the influence of hardliners in the country. And it could start to open Iran's doors to outside businesses, including from the US.

But in the months since the nuclear deal was signed in July, that optimism seems to be unfounded — and experts say that was predictable.

Reports that Iran has become more aggressive in its anti-Western rhetoric and policies have raised questions about why the deal appears to have had little effect on moderating hardliners and improving US-Iranian relations.

“Death to America” remains the favored slogan of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who accepted the terms of the deal only conditionally and continues to deny it will lead to any rapprochement with the US — and of anti-America billboards popping up around Tehran.

Journalists, activists, and prominent Iranian-Americans continue to be arrested at an alarming rate. Iranian security forces boast of the developments being made to the country's defense program — one month after testing a new precision-guided ballistic missile capable of striking Israel.


Tony Badran, a researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, echoed this sentiment in an interview.

“With the JCPOA, Obama made an investment in the stability of the regime, and those who run its nuclear program,” Badran told Business Insider. “As such, Obama's intention was never for the meek Iranians of tomorrow to inherit the earth.”

“The reality is, where we have had cooperation with Iran — such as in Iraq, where Iran-backed militias are fighting ISIS in close proximity to American military advisers and US-backed Kurds — it's been with the IRGC, not the moderates.”

“It was a very telling moment when, at a meeting with Gulf Arab leaders at Camp David earlier this year, the president reportedly expressed admiration for Iran's ability to mobilize proxy forces across the Middle East to advance its interests,” Badran said.

“Obama wanted to retreat from the Middle East and said, 'These are the guys, regionally, that can get things done.'”

“The deal prevents sanctions from being reimposed on Iran for anything not related to its nuclear program,” Badran said. “So there is a wariness that if Congress tried to 'snap' the sanctions back into place, or 'push back' against Iranian initiatives in the region, Khamenei would see this as a breach and the deal would collapse.”


Read the full article here.


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