Dangerous Escalation: Why Trump's Pressure Tactics Won't Work on Iran

Iran's army servicemen with the national flag attend the opening ceremony of the airborne platoon competition, part of the International Army Games 2017, in Guangshui, Hubei province, China

Iran may respond to efforts to isolate it by strengthening regional anti-Western alliances.

Accordingly, if Europe and the United States seek regional cooperation with Iran, then they must acknowledge that Iran—as any sovereign state—has legitimate security concerns and a right to defensive capabilities. Realistic U.S. and European efforts to foster regional peace must focus on promoting a balance of power between regional powers such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, not on inflaming their differences. Regional stability will also not be served by scuttling the JCPOA, which could spark an arms race, but can be enhanced by drawing on its tenets to realize a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.

The JCPOA showed that constructive engagement between the Iran and the West is possible, provided there is mutual acknowledgement of legitimate interests and solutions are “win-win.” With that said, Iran has no reason to trust in any new negotiation unless the West fully and properly implements its JCPOA obligations.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University, former spokesperson of Iran’s nuclear dossier and author of Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace.

Sina Toossi is a Senior Research Specialist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Image: Reuters

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