‘Putting Iran on Notice’ Means Restoring American Credibility (NRO 2/4/17)

NATIONAL REVIEW
By Fred Fleitz

Trump should tear up the nuclear agreement.
After declaring that “Iran is on notice” for a recent ballistic-missile test and for missile attacks against a Saudi ship by Houthi rebels, and then announcing new U.S. sanctions against Iran on Friday, the Trump administration met with predicable criticism from Democrats and the foreign-policy establishment, who objected that the president was provoking Iran and risking war by threatening the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA).
In fact, it was President Obama’s Iran policy that made the Middle East much less stable, as his appeasement of Iran and “leading from behind” approach emboldened Tehran and did little to stop it from pursuing nuclear weapons and building ballistic missiles to carry them. The Obama administration did absolutely nothing in response to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and its backing of the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Even worse, Obama officials during the nuclear talks gave Iran a green light to expand its role in Iraq and Syria. It’s no accident that Iran sent ground troops into Syria shortly after the JCPOA was announced.
The Obama administration claimed that the JCPOA would lead to an improvement in Iranian behavior and in U.S.–Iran relations. This did not happen. Iran has conducted at least a dozen ballistic-missile tests over the past two years. Some of these missiles had the words “Israel must be wiped off the map” written on the sides. Iran captured ten U.S. sailors and held them at gunpoint on the day of President Obama’s last State of the Union address. There has been a sharp increase in Iran’s harassing and threatening ships in the Persian Gulf, including U.S. Navy vessels. Houthi rebels, probably with Iranian assistance, fired anti-ship missiles at American and United Arab Emirates ships in the Red Sea last fall. Iran also has taken more American citizens and green-card holders prisoner since the JCPOA was announced and after five U.S. prisoners were released in January 2016.
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