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Iran Decision Reflects Administration’s Conflicting Priorities

Friday, January 12, 2018

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Washington, D.C.– President Trump’s decision on the Iran deal reflects the administration’s conflicting impulses and priorities in dealing with a wide range of Iranian challenges, Blaise Misztal, national security director at BPC, said. The following is his commentary:

“President Trump’s decision to extend waivers on critical sanctions against Iran, as part of the nuclear deal, while imposing new sanctions on human rights and terrorism grounds, indicates the conflicting impulses and priorities of his administration on Iran.

“Having to choose between dealing with a flawed nuclear deal, Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region, and the regime’s recent violent suppression of protests, the administration has chosen actions that express U.S. displeasure about each, without prioritizing or emphasizing any.

“The tension between fixing the deal and containing Iranian destabilizing behavior in the Middle East has further been compounded by the recent protests against the regime in Iran and the U.S. administration’s appropriate desire to support the demonstrators.

“The administration is imposing new sanctions, unrelated to the nuclear deal, in a move designed to punish Iran for its brutal reaction to the protests and other concerning behavior. However, in order to continue expressing his concerns about the nuclear deal, President Trump will also likely next week renew his refusal from October to certify to Congress that the deal serves U.S. national security interests.

“Overcoming a burgeoning EU-Iranian partnership is a crucial challenge now for U.S. Iran policy–whether for fixing the deal, rolling back Iranian influence in Syria, or helping support the legitimate demands of the Iranian people.”

Blaise Misztal is available for comment