Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

This Is Why Trump's Strategy for Iran Will Fail

| Dec. 21, 2017

Although a range of legislative and executive options remain in play, Congress' window to expedite the reimposition of sanctions lifted under the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) has closed. The sixty-day clock to do so began running on October 13, when President Trump announced his comprehensive Iran strategy, which included the decertification of the Iran nuclear deal to Congress. The product of a "complete strategic review," the strategy was described as aiming to "counter the regime's destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies," "block their financing of terror," "address the regime's proliferation of missiles," and "deny all paths to a nuclear weapon." Trump focused on employing coercive tools such as sanctions and threats, including a threat to abrogate the JCPOA absent "fixes," and appeals to the Iranian people that signaled a possible shift towards the pursuit of regime change. The strategy aims to compel Iran to change its policies and European allies to fall in line with the U.S. approach. We evaluate the strategy from the perspective of "coercive bargaining theory"—a pillar of American foreign policy—and find that it lacks key components for success....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Nowrouzzadeh, Sahar, Reid Pauly and Mahsa Rouhi.“This Is Why Trump's Strategy for Iran Will Fail.” The National Interest, December 21, 2017.

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