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Resolving the Iran Conundrum

Summary:
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes that Iran is only months away from being able to produce enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon. Mitigating this threat and addressing Iran's broader destabilizing activities in the Middle East calls for a two-phase plan. TEL AVIV – Former US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran utterly failed to enhance regional or global security. His successor, Joe Biden, must not make the same mistake. The Shape of Global Recovery Viktor Morozuk/Getty Images The Enduring Populist Threat PS OnPoint Jon Cherry/Getty Images

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes that Iran is only months away from being able to produce enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon. Mitigating this threat and addressing Iran's broader destabilizing activities in the Middle East calls for a two-phase plan.

TEL AVIV – Former US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran utterly failed to enhance regional or global security. His successor, Joe Biden, must not make the same mistake.

The centerpiece of Trump’s Iran policy was his unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – widely known as the Iran nuclear deal – in 2018. This move, directly and aggressively promoted by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, enabled the US to re-impose severe sanctions on Iran.

At the time, Iran was in full compliance with the JCPOA’s conditions, and it remained in compliance for a full year after Trump’s decision took effect, to give Europe a chance to uphold its pledge to bypass US sanctions. But Europe didn’t follow through, so Iran began to break the rules.

Now, as an outgoing deputy chief of Mossad recently noted, the situation is worse than it was when the JCPOA was signed. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes that Iran is only months away from being able to produce enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon. If the country continues to raise limits imposed by the JCPOA, it could get there in “a matter of weeks.”

And yet, far from learning its lesson, Israel – together with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – wants Biden to maintain Trump’s failed policy. In January, Israel’s military chief, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, warned the Biden...

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