Surprisingly, the Arab states delegates present agreed with their the Zionist enemy. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister stated that the Iranians have only “stepped up the tempo of their mischief” since the controversial nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six leading powers.They are not alone, as the Trump administration placed Iran “on notice” at the start of this month and imposed a limited new set of sanctions, after Iran launched a medium-range ballistic missile test. Iran’s response was to test another one. Confrontation, even a conflict, may be coming, after the deal of 2015 was believed to have begun in an era of peaceful coexistence. 

It’s in Iran hands. Tehran’s hardliners must consider their priorities, but an examination of their actions and rhetoric displays their belief that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement, marked the end of their efforts toward rehabilitation, but it’s only part of what needs to be done by Iran.

The deal was to meant to limit Iran’s destabilising enrichment programme. Iran agreed, under its terms, to make no weaponisable plutonium. It also dismantled the centrifuges used to make enriched uranium, and eliminated nearly all of its stockpile. These restrictions continue for 15 years, and after that time limit is over, Iran’s nuclear activities will be subject to an inspection regime. In return, UN-mandated economic sanctions that had crippled Iran’s economy after the nuclear threat started to cause alarm in the mid-2000s were lifted. 

To date, both sides have kept to the bargain. However, Donald Trump has railed against the deal, but has shown no sign of scrapping it. Most observers think it would be a mistake to do so. 

However, there are other sanctions on Iran. America still has many that were imposed a decade age, to punish Iran for a number of transgressions, including human-rights abuses, support for terrorism and the development of weapons of mass destruction, and missiles that can be used to deliver them.

Although generally doveish, Barack Obama tightened these sanctions several times to penalize  Iran for missile testing. The law mandating them was extended for ten more years last December. The Senate backed the extension by 99-0 and the House by 419-1. American firms are still banned from doing business with Iran, but the president has the power to waive sanctions. After the nuclear deal, former President Obama did this in many areas, for instance allowing  Boeing join Airbus in selling planes to Iran.

These prior sanctions had nothing to do with the nuclear program, but instead with Iran’s record of making trouble. Iran is helpful in taking on Islamic state, but, as former Senator Joe Lieberman noted, it still poses the largest threat to the stability of the Middle East.

The Trump administration shouldn’t tear up the nuclear deal. It may not be perfect, but it’s better than having Iran only months away from possessing nukes. Additionally, the nuclear deal does not stop America from being tough elsewhere. President Trump is right to apply targeted sanctions against the individuals and companies that are helping the Iran build itself up.