DEBATE: The US Withdrawal from the JCPOA: Where Do We Go from Here?

| May 25, 2018

Q:   On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. His intention is to impose the highest possible level of economic sanctions on Iran and perhaps sanction other nations that assist Tehran in its quest for nuclear weapons. The “nixing” of the deal might be followed by a “fixing” of the deal. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: After the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, where do we go from here?

The Implications of Mike Pompeo’s 12-Point Speech

| May 23, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on May 21, 2018 was an important step in the realization of the Trump Doctrine. The 12-point speech outlined the administration’s nuclear nonproliferation strategy against Iran, which strives to exert constant pressure on Tehran so as to goad it into a new nuclear deal.

Is Iran Considering Reactivating Uranium Enrichment at Fordow?

On April 29, satellite imagery showed irregular activity at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment facility, arousing suspicion that Iran is preparing to resume its activities. The Iranians had indeed threatened to do this if President Trump followed through on his plan to quit the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA). However, the unusual activity might simply be steps towards converting the facility to a civil research center for nuclear energy and physics, which would comply with the JCPOA.

China Is Treading a Fine Line in Iran

| May 18, 2018

Now that Donald Trump has exited the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, there is more at stake for the other signatories than either their belief in the deal’s virtues or their eagerness to salvage economic opportunities. Maintaining the deal without the US would deliver a severe blow to American credibility and perceptions of US power. China has long experience circumventing sanctions regimes, but the environment surrounding the reimposed sanctions is likely to be unusually confrontational.

The Travesty of the Lebanese Elections

| May 16, 2018

The Iranian leadership has claimed a great victory for the Hezbollah-Amal alliance, which it backed, in the recent Lebanese parliamentary elections. But Lebanese elections are a travesty. In that country, the will of the people is completely distorted by gerrymandering engineered by Hezbollah and its mentor, Iran.

Donald Trump’s National Security Doctrine

| May 11, 2018

In light of the dramatic announcement by US President Donald Trump that the US will withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) and restore harsh economic sanctions, it is worthwhile to analyze the Trump administration’s national security doctrine. The mainstream media’s claims that Trump has no real strategy, that he does not understand the issues at stake and changes his mind about them constantly, and that the White House is in a state of confused turmoil do not stand up to scrutiny.

Middle East Peace Will Come Through Containment of the Iranian Threat

| May 10, 2018

There are many implications to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s impressive presentation in which he revealed the Iranian plan to turn itself into a nuclear superpower. One of them is the message to the Arab world that Israel is determined to stop this process, which it views as disastrous. There is no doubt that one of the presentation’s main target audiences was the leaders of the Sunni Arab countries.

What Might an Israel-Iran War Look Like?

| May 10, 2018

Given their mutual resolve in meeting their completely contradictory objectives – Tehran’s resolve to turn Syria into a forward base for direct Iranian operations and Israel’s resolve to prevent it – the prospects are high that a war will break out between Iran and its proxies against Israel. The war will be mutually destructive, but Israel has one advantage Iran doesn’t – a public that is firmly behind its democratically elected government.

The “Game” Israel and Iran Must Play in Syria

| May 8, 2018

Israel has neither the power nor the motivation to significantly influence the outcome of the war for control of all the pieces of Syria. Israel’s objective in Syria is to prevent Iran from building military facilities there that increase its ability to attack Israel. The only way Israel can achieve this is by destroying any such facilities that Iran builds, or by convincing Iran not to build any threatening facility out of fear that Israel will destroy it.  

Most Iranians Couldn’t Care Less About the Palestinians or Israel

| May 2, 2018

Diplomats who served in Tehran frequently claim that Israel and the Palestinians are marginal to Iranian concerns. They are correct about the Iranian public and wrong about the leadership. Maybe this and other formidable gaps between the Iranian public and the leadership could provide the fuel to ignite the opposition to remove them from power.