Dec. 22, 2015
- The Risks of Inaction in the Face of Iranian Misbehavior – Michael Singh
The Obama administration has emphasized that the nuclear deal with Iran was not intended to address concerns such as Iran’s support for terrorism or its regional activities. Since the agreement was signed in July, Iran has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and imprisoned another Iranian-American. It has defied UN sanctions by exporting arms to Yemen and Syria, and by conducting two ballistic missile launches. In addition, Iranian hackers have reportedly engaged in cyber attacks on the State Department.
In defending the nuclear deal, administration officials were at pains to note the multiple multilateral and unilateral options remaining to them to respond to just these sorts of situations. But the administration has not acted. Inaction in the face of Iranian misbehavior implies that Tehran stands to receive broader-than-intended relief.
Maintaining deterrence as well as the integrity of UN sanctions will require meaningful responses to Iranian provocations with the full range of tools at Washington’s disposal. It means wielding carrots and sticks together, and not neglecting U.S. commitments. If Iran’s disregard for international injunctions is ignored, it cannot be long before Tehran treats the nuclear deal the same way. The writer, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, worked on Middle East issues at the National Security Council from 2005 to 2008. (Wall Street Journal)