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An Update from CUFI Action Fund













When President Trump unveiled his much anticipated proposal for peace in the Middle East, he noted in his remarks, “As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel: moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem; recognizing the Golan Heights and, frankly, perhaps most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal [emphasis added].”

It’s no secret that Iran’s nuclear ambitions and their proxy-based imperial ambitions – namely their support of the terrorist-army Hezbollah – constitute the most significant strategic threat to Israel. As such, President Trump’s comment concerning the disastrous Iran nuclear deal is accurate.

Recent Events

In mid-June the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemned the Islamic Republic “for failing to cooperate with its probe of Tehran’s nuclear activities.”[i] This condemnation was uncharacteristic of the international body which has been consistently slow – to the point of deficiency – in calling Iran out for its blatant and consistent flouting of relevant nuclear agreements. The IAEA’s statement, which many rightfully see as too little too late, could be a step in the administration’s efforts to build the case for ending the Iran deal and re-applying international sanctions on the Iranian regime.

Further, in recent weeks we have seen a series of explosions at Iranian sites, including one hitting a missile factory and another at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. According to an IAEA spokesperson, the destruction at Natanz could likely “slow down the development and expansion of advanced centrifuges,” a key component in the Islamic Republic’s march towards a nuclear weapons capability.[ii] 

Around the same time period, Israel foiled Iranian plans to attack Israeli diplomatic missions in Europe and elsewhere in the world. This comes just a month after Jerusalem prevented an Iranian cyber-attack on Israel’s water supply.

And all of this has occurred against the backdrop of President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Tehran, which has had a significant and negative impact on the Iranian economy. As sanctions have increased against Iran, the regime has maintained its longstanding noncompliance of the failed Iran deal.

Iran’s stonewalling of the IAEA and the incidents which have now complicated their nuclear and missile activities tell us that much.

This Was Eminently Predictable

The Iran nuclear accord was doomed to fall woefully short of its stated goals because its enforcement mechanisms were at best weak, it included sunset provisions (nuclear and non-nuclear) that required no change in regime behavior, and failed to directly address Iran’s imperial ambitions and support for terrorism.

As CUFI noted in an op-ed months before the deal was signed, “Any nuclear deal with Iran that ignores Tehran's belligerence legitimizes that behavior. By compartmentalizing the nuclear issue, the White House is overlooking the very reasons the world is so concerned with the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran.”

Where Do We Go From Here?

The Republican Study Committee recently released a report proposing the strongest, most comprehensive sanctions against Iran ever formally envisioned. Key sectors of the Iranian economy would be targeted as they might be the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges which seeks to enable European companies to do business with the Islamic Republic while avoiding US sanctions.

In the context of Iran’s proxies, Hezbollah’s infiltration of the US-backed Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) must be addressed without delay. No longer can American taxpayer dollars be sent to Beirut without conditions.

In short, we must continue to ratchet up the pressure, and attempt to snapback international sanctions on the regime. We will continue to remind policymakers that in just over three short months, the international arms embargo on Iran will be lifted and the threats the United States and Israel face will only increase.

Iran’s responses, from their diplomatic maneuvers to their efforts to attack Israeli and other targets, indicate the regime is desperate. Like a cornered animal, the regime is lashing out and we must do everything possible to limit the damage they are able to do.

The events subsequent to the nuclear deal remind us that Tehran will exploit any opening to advance their malicious agenda. Likewise, Iran’s reaction to the ever-increasing economic pressure against the regime shows that maximum pressure works. Let’s keep our foot on the gas.

Thank you as always for checking out this week’s Action Update. Keep reading for more insight and information into the issues affecting US and Israeli national security in the Middle East.


Sincerely,

[i] Norman, L. (2020, June 19). U.N. Condemns Iran Over Nuclear Activity, Fueling U.S. Calls to End Deal. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-is-dealt-a-blow-by-u-n-over-nuclear-activity-fueling-u-s-opposition-11592560861
[ii] Keinon, H. (2020, July 07). The Political Impact of Explosions in Iran - Analysis. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/the-political-impact-of-explosions-in-iran-analysis-634073


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