U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAN AFTER THE NUCLEAR DEAL
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While the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will be the cornerstone of U.S.-Iran relations for years to come, a new set of policies for engagement between the U.S. and Iran is both possible and necessary if the U.S. wishes to help bring Iran into the international community as a more pragmatic actor. To prevail in this, Washington will need a new, more balanced approach that recognizes Tehran’s saber-rattling for what it is, and a groundbreaking cooperative agenda that balances the strategic interests of its allies in the Middle East with the U.S.’ overarching objective of stability in the region – both of which Iran is integral to. This is not to say that the U.S. should at any point overlook Tehran’s history of fomenting violence and discord in the region for the sake of compromise; such antagonistic policies must be systematically opposed wherever Tehran seeks to implement them. But at this critical juncture where tensions between Iran and the Arab states are at a fever pitch, Iran will be more likely to sit at the table if the U.S. can convince its allies that their security is best served through diplomatic measures. Moreover, if Iran can be shown that its more aggressive tendencies do more harm than good to its national interests, it may yet shift its attention inward to more cooperative and prosperous endeavors worthy of the regional power it aspires to be. Reintegrating Iran into the international community will be by no means easy, and hopes for swift reform must be tempered even as a new generation of young Iranians begins to exert a more moderate influence on domestic politics. But if the following U.S. policies can be implemented to deter Iranian actions that destabilize the region, demonstrate commitment to regional allies, and incentivize acceptable behavior from Iran with opportunities for economic and diplomatic integration, ideology may give way to reveal instances of progress toward a more beneficial state of relations between the U.S. and Iran.
- SIS 495 Task Force