How to Kick-Start Iran-US Regional Cooperation

Not only would the JCPOA-mandated commission charged with overseeing disputes in the deal’s implementation blame the United States, but Iran would also have JCPOA-stipulated grounds to follow Larijani’s suggestion and engage in “nuclear snapback”— reconstituting its previous nuclear capabilities.

Consequently, the tactic of die-hard opponents of US-Iran engagement — to increase sanctions on Iran — is a moot effort and in fact a bluff. Their real aim is not to directly sabotage the deal, but to create an atmosphere of uncertainty predicated on threatening new non-nuclear sanctions in order to scare away international banks and companies from doing business with Iran, thereby minimizing the incentives Iran has to comply with the deal.

The solution is to not fall for this psychological ploy. International banks and companies should rest assured that nuclear-related sanctions on Iran are gone for good and that there is nothing the United States can do — neither now nor in the future — to reimpose them without destroying its credibility at the same time. Iranian officials, meanwhile, should be careful to not play into the hands of the deal’s American opponents and increase uncertainty about the future of the JCPOA.

Deal opponents in Washington should similarly understand that efforts to undermine the JCPOA only serve to reinforce in the minds of Iranians the notion that the United States cannot be trusted or engaged with on regional or other issues.

They should also be cognizant of the fact that Iran is the last pillar in the way of regional collapse — an outcome that would have existential consequences not only for regional countries but also for the West.

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