On October 13th, Trump appeared on live on TV and revealed America’s strategy for the Iranian regime. Trump’s Iran strategy focuses on four main areas:
• Addressing Iran’s nuclear program and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal, between China, France, Russia, Germany, the UK, the US, the EU and the Islamic republic;
• Iran’s ballistic missile program;
• Tehran’s military involvement in the region;
• The difference between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime.
According to Trump, Iran’s nuclear deal was a victory for the Iranian regime, but a blow to the West and to the region. Iran receives huge sums of money in revenues while it continues its nuclear and hegemonic ambitions. Additionally, the JCPOA’s sunset clauses remove all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program after 2025.
Following implementation of the nuclear agreement, Iran has fired over a dozen ballistic missiles. Trump urged the international community to consider imposing sanctions on the regime’s ballistic activities, and US Congress to pass legislation that would prevent the regime from obtaining intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Regarding Iran’s meddling in the region, Trump pointed to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is said to have significant control over Iran’s economic and political sectors.
Trump’s strategy also distinguishes the difference between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people, the people the “first victims” of the regime.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, Iranian-American political scientist asks in his article for Arab News, “But has Trump actually managed to turn his Iran strategy into effective action?”
One year is not enough time to assess the implementation of Trump’s Iran strategy, but Dr. Rafizadeh believes that Trump has made significant progress.
Trump unveiled new sanctions against 13 people and 12 companies in response to Iran’s ballistic missile tests last February, and sanctions followed against another 18 entities in July. He has also sanctioned the Iranian regime for its ongoing support for terrorism. As well, in August, Trump approved sanctions that not only target the IRGC and Quds Force, but also penalize any US entity that deals with these Iranian institutions and their affiliates.
Then, in October, Trump declined to certify the nuclear deal, and introduced further sanctions against the IRGC.
Dr. Rafizadeh notes that Trump’s Iran strategy “is multilateral; he has sought the cooperation of regional powers, including Saudi Arabia, to confront the threat posed by the Iranian regime.”
While some argue that Trump has not fulfilled the promises of his Iran strategy, strategies can take months to be drafted and reviewed when a new president takes office. Significant progress has been made in the first year of Trump’s presidency, and further steps my be expected in the coming year.