President Trump has until Friday to decide whether to depart from the Iran nuclear deal or kick the can down the road for another 90 days. However, all indications are that he is poised to finally leave the deal for good.
President Obama’s signature foreign policy endeavor has resulted in widespread regional chaos and diplomatic disaster. The deal provided a multi-billion windfall for the Iranian regime and unleashed the mullahs to prosecute their caliphatist ambitions in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing the current administration can do to take back what was already surrendered to the regime. But there’s plenty of ways that the White House can execute a post-departure plan to ramp up the pressure on the regime and mitigate its nuclear threat.
1) Make sure Iran can’t build nuclear weapons
It is of utmost importance to the national security of the United States that Iran cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons. A single nuclear weapon is a game-changer that serves to lock in the Iranian regime’s grip over the country. Plus, it allows the mullahs to present an existential threat to the United States.
All indications are that the regime remains hell-bent on acquiring a sophisticated nuclear weapons program. For now, it remains in Iran’s interests to do so. A proven nuclear threat creates a massive obstacle for U.S. allies in combatting the regime’s continuing ideological expansion and global terror campaigns.
A nuclear weapons capacity makes for an incredibly powerful deterrent to action. We must not allow the mullahs to run out the clock.
The president can change the regime’s nuclear calculations by sticking to the philosophy of “peace through strength.” After he leaves the deal, President Trump can make crystal clear that all options are on the table when dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. This doesn’t mean that the U.S. military needs to launch a tactical mission to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the threat needs to be presented as real, and the regime needs to buy it as such. The president should make it clear that he reserves the right to uphold his ultimate duty to preserve the security of the American people.
2) Delegitimize the regime
It is in the interests of the United States to seek the downfall of the Iranian regime. The best way to do this is not to forcefully intervene in Iran’s internal disputes, but simply to support the Iranian people’s ambitions and continue the maximum pressure campaign against the ayatollah’s theocracy.
The Iranian regime operates a terror network that stretches from Asia all the way to the Western hemisphere. The regime continues to support several terrorist groups in the Middle East, which has resulted in massive destabilization, death, and devastation.
Time is not on the deeply unpopular regime’s side. The president should encourage our European partners to join the United States in further isolating the regime and accelerating its downfall. The world would be much better off without the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.
3) Support the Iranian people
The Iranian people are ruled by an evil regime that infringes upon their fundamental human rights, treats women and religious minorities as second-class citizens, and uses police-state censorship tools to restrict the Iranian people’s ability to communicate freely and openly.
By all indications, Iranians are fed up with the Islamic supremacist ways of the mullahs. Widespread protests continue to erupt on a daily basis, as thousands continue to take to the streets in defiance of the Islamic regime
The United States can depart the Iran deal while supporting the aspirations of the Iranian people to be free. This doesn’t mean that the U.S. military needs to commence a sophisticated operation to impose our will on Iran. Instead, the president can use his bully pulpit to broadcast a supportive messaging campaign for the Iranian people’s right to self-determination.
4) Continue to chip away at the regime’s war chest
One of the best ways to cut down on the regime’s ability to fuel global terror is to cut off its funding mechanisms.
Even as the U.S. has technically remained in the Iran deal, President Trump has empowered the Treasury Department and other governmental agencies with the tools to economically isolate the Iranian regime from the rest of the world.
Sanctions packages, combined with Iran’s insistence on allocating funds to fuel global terror instead of the local economy, have resulted in an Iran that is dealing with a metastasizing currency crisis. The Iranian rial is in complete free fall. In 2018 alone, the U.S. dollar has gained 37 percent against the rial.
In a piece for Foreign Policy, Saeed Ghasseminejad and Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies tackle what the Trump administration can do to target the regime’s economic capacity. They advised that the White House can indeed leverage the currency crisis to further chip away at the clerical regime.