Recent reports of a potential understanding or agreement between the United States and Iran on Iran’s nuclear program underscore the need to revisit the lessons and ideas learned from the 2015 agreement known as the Action Plan overall joint. An agreement that Iran signed on July 14, 2015 with the P5+1, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and Germany. The JCPOA deal was flawed from the start and any government seeking a deal with Iran needs to understand the country’s negotiating tactics to avoid making the same mistakes.
Negotiating effectively with the Shiite regime in Tehran requires a thorough understanding of their mindset, perspectives and negotiating tactics. The regime sees itself as a revolutionary power, propelled by tales of victimhood, an apocalyptic view of history, and a sense of moral and cultural superiority. It is essential to recognize that the Shia mindset and belief legitimize and even demand dishonesty, such as the tactics of deception, concealment and diversion employed during the JCPOA negotiations. The 5+1 premise was that the deal would restrain Iran’s aggressive regional and global policies and contribute to overall stability in the Middle East. This belief turned out to be wishful thinking and the result of the JCPOA agreement was the exact opposite, and ended up encouraging the regime to intensify and expand its aggression in the region.
Following the signing of the JCPOA, Iran further increased its regional aggression, entrenching itself in sensitive and strategic areas. It has expanded and strengthened its network by providing funding and advanced weapons to its allies and proxies, including high-precision missiles, rockets and assault drones. Iran has directly or indirectly attacked maritime traffic in crucial waterways such as the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb and the Red Sea. Iran has targeted oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and directly attacked Israel. Regarding its nuclear program, official reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency repeatedly stress Iran’s failure to fulfill its commitments, refusal to cooperate and concealment of activities.
It is crucial to understand these facts because contrary to some arguments, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 was not the cause of the increasing Iranian aggression; it was the result of Iranian aggression. It is essential to recognize that Western negotiators failed to grasp Iran’s true objectives in the negotiations. The Iranians were less concerned about reaching a deal on their nuclear project and more focused on securing other assets. And they succeeded. At the heart of the regime’s master plan to become the hegemonic power in the region is a triangular strategy: missiles and drones, terrorist groups and its nuclear program. These elements are not separated; they function as a “mutualist” ecosystem. Iran’s ballistic missile program and terrorist armies serve to deter attacks against its nuclear program, while the nuclear program deters attacks against its terrorist armies. Western JCPOA negotiators did not understand this blueprint, and because of this, their draft agreement completely ignored this triangle, playing into Iran’s hands.
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Iran’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine has served as a wake-up call to Western leaders, underscoring the urgency of confronting Iran’s triangular model. However, this objective cannot be achieved by formal agreements alone. The regime is unlikely to sign any such deals, and even if they do, they are likely to be empty commitments as long as the regime continues on its current trajectory. The regime operates on the assumption that the West will refrain from using military force to enforce compliance, a premise that seems accurate. Therefore, Iran will continue to exploit its triangular model to expand its influence in the Middle East and pursue its goal of being the regional superpower.
In these circumstances, what tools does the West have to effectively meet the Iranian challenge? One tool is the imposition of biting sanctions. Iran’s economy is in shambles and unrest is growing in the country. Maintaining the sanctions threatens the regime’s staying power, which is why Tehran is so desperate to have the current sanctions lifted quickly. Another tool available to the West is the emergence of an Arab alliance comprising major Arab players like Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Efforts are already underway to establish this coalition, and one of its main objectives is to curb Iranian aggression and influence. The United States can and should play a central role in this confederation by leveraging its significant influence in each of these countries through soft power and multi-track diplomacy efforts and channels.
Collectively, the US-Arab alliance can help curb Iran’s influence in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. These contiguous countries are the keystone of Iran’s master plan. An Iranian-controlled corridor between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea. Developments in these countries have the potential to weaken Iran’s grip. For example, Iraq and Lebanon are experiencing a rise in nationalist patriotism in response to Tehran’s influence, thus weakening Iranian influence in these two countries. The Arab world’s formal reacceptance of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, particularly the Saudi-Assad rapprochement, also has the potential to weaken Iran’s grip in Syria, a development that would significantly reduce Iran’s influence. Iran in the Middle East. In addition, large-scale economic and infrastructure projects involving the members of the emerging Arab alliance – such as an Iraqi-Jordanian oil pipeline, a railway project linking the Gulf, Iraq and Turkey and a Egyptian-Jordanian gas supply project for power generation in Lebanon and Syria – offers the US an opportunity to deepen its influence while simultaneously curtailing Iran’s hegemonic aspirations.
A comprehensive agreement between the United States and Iran is unlikely to be reached in the foreseeable future. However, partial understanding on specific issues may emerge shortly. Nonetheless, the main lesson to be learned from the JCPOA’s failures is that an agreement or understanding with Iran alone will not provide a comprehensive response to the Iranian challenge.
To offer a chance for lasting stability in the region vis-à-vis the Iranian triangle of aggression, the United States must learn from the JCPOA negotiations and pursue a more comprehensive approach that will not focus solely on nuclear ambitions. from Iran. The West must invest time and energy to understand Iran’s tactics, develop and implement a proactive policy, take advantage of tools such as sanctions, strengthen regional alliances, support capable regional alignment to effectively balance the Iranian threat and pursue common interests among key regional players. actors seeking cooperation and security.
Avi Melamed is a former Israeli intelligence official who later served as deputy and then senior adviser for Arab affairs to Jerusalem mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert, operating as a negotiator during the first and second intifadas. He is the author of “Inside The Middle East | Entering A New Era” and his latest documentary series, “The Seam Line”, available on the IZZY streaming platform, focuses on hotspots in Jerusalem and his work during the intifadas.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Iran nuclear deal: Here are the lessons we can learn from