Norman Roule, senior advisor at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and former National Intelligence Manager for Iran for the US government, writes in his article for Euronews, “The priority for Europe and the US should therefore be to develop an incentive architecture that ensures responsible behaviour.”
Roule believes that without a coordinated US-EU approach focusing on Iran’s regional expansion, the regime’s adventurism in countries ranging from Bahrain and Iraq, to Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen will continue. As well, it leaves Iran’s human rights record unchecked — including the detention of a growing number of foreign nationals.
The JCPOA temporarily halted the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions relief it provided also showed the Iranian people that the West was not responsible for their economic problems. Instead, it is the leadership of its regime.
Still, there are weaknesses in the deal that need to be strengthened. The US and Europe must define consequences that will force Iran to act as a responsible member of the international community.
The the “sunset clauses” that allow Iran to gradually expand its enrichment program after year 15 of the agreement, are one such weakness. The JCPOA mandates that the United Nations conventional arms embargo will expire in 2020, allowing Iran to purchase a vast assortment of armaments. Missile restrictions will also expire in 2023. This is a cause for concern, as many in the US and Europe worry that these clauses make only minimal contributions to regional stability.
Another area US–European cooperation should focus on is the political wing of Hezbollah, which Europe has been reluctant to do. An FTO designation for Iran’s deadly Quds Force is also an important step toward stopping Iran’s interventions in the region.
The US, with its European partners, must focus on the future and protect strategic equities. Meaningful and urgent measures must be taken against Tehran. We must stand together and hold Iran accountable for its actions.