As U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook made clear in his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, if the United States fails to secure an extension to the arms embargo against Iran that expires in October, it is willing to try and force the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran.
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The United States and Iran are once again on the verge of conflict. On March 11, a volley of short-range rockets killed a U.S. soldier and contractor, as well as a British solider, at an Iraqi base near Baghdad.
Kim Jong Un has done a good job keeping the United States guessing about his next nuclear provocation. North Korea had threatened that it would pursue a more hardline “new path” by the end of last year unless the United States dropped its “hostile” policies toward the country.
On January 5—amidst quickly escalating tensions between the United States and Iran—Tehran announced its latest steps to walk back its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran is back in the nuclear game.
Only a handful of countries worldwide have nuclear weapons, and the risk of new entrants into the club, most experts agree, is relatively low.
Iran’s nuclear actions so far do not merit a redline or the military response that could follow, nor do they rise to the level of an unacceptable threat to the United States or its interests. Rather, they are a signal that, although some in the Trump administration believe otherwise, Iran will not consent to being pushed via sanctions without seeking leverage of its own.
Iran announced Monday—and international inspectors confirmed—that it had exceeded the amount of enriched uranium it can have on hand under the terms of the nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). The deal allows Iran to have up to 300kg of up to 3.67 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride.
ERIC BREWER and RICHARD NEPHEW