„Iran’s behavior over the past year makes it clear that rather than embracing a more cooperative approach toward the international community, Iran is persisting with its abusive rhetoric and aggressive policies. With the P5+1 wary of anything that might endanger the deal, Iran feels emboldened, and, with the deal, is ironically better positioned to pursue its aggressive aims in the Middle East, including stepping up its presence in Syria and intensifying its ballistic missile activities. Indeed, Iran has been testing the resolve of the US and others to confront it, equipped as it now is with a new and quite effective deterrent to any determined Western response: its threat to walk away from the nuclear deal.
Reluctant to upset the deal (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), the US has refrained from pushing back against Iran. Instead, the Obama administration tends to minimize the significance of Iran’s aggressive rhetoric and actions, brushing them aside as intended merely to mollify ‚hardliners‘ upset by the deal. (…) The immediacy of the Iranian nuclear threat has receded, but the threat of a nuclear Iran has not been eliminated. The only scenario in which a delay could be cause for celebration is if there were a clear prospect for a new regime in Iran, with leaders charting a radically different course. But there is no indication of that happening anytime soon. Therefore, hinging such a critical deal on the hope that such change might come about is highly irresponsible.“