There is no doubt that the world has changed since 2015, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed. The question is whether the Iranian regime knows that.

The regime is weaker now, not stronger, simply because it is not building but destroying. And when you are done with destruction, all you can do is sit on the ruins of your work.

Today, Iran sits atop the ruins of its actions. It is sits on the wreckage of Syria, which it has destroyed for the sake of keeping the regime of President Bashar Assad in power. It sits on the ruins of Lebanon, destroyed so that Hezbollah can maintain its violent grip on the country. It sits on the devastation in Iraq, where it has stirred up even intra-Shiite conflicts. It sits on the demolition of Yemen, where it has destroyed the genuine tribal fabric of the country.

This is what the fresh US dollars from the 2015 nuclear deal have done — only destruction, no building. It is an astonishing track record of failure and misery.

Then there is the terrible desolation of Iran itself. The regime has indeed destroyed the future of its own country. Talented, educated and creative Iranians have been dropped down an abyss of decrepitude, so that the regime can continue to wreak havoc across its western border. It is an example of absolute failure. Since the nuclear deal, it has become clear to all that the regime in Tehran does not act as a show of resistance but only in support of hegemony and to maintain its grip on power.

It is clear that while Iran has been busy destroying things, the region — and the world — has changed and continues to do so. Strangely enough, it seems the mullahs have not taken this into account. And so one thing is clear: No matter how many billions of dollars they might get from a new nuclear deal with the West, or the green light such a deal gives them, they will not be able to achieve anything. They have reached peak destruction. They are built only to bring misery and hence cannot benefit.

If a new deal is agreed, first of all the mullahs can expect a strong reaction from their own people. No way will Iranians accept for a second time the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars to terrorist groups for no gain while they are left with nothing. Yes, the regime will attempt to repress protesters severely but this will be, once again, at the expense of its image as a force for resistance. It will prove yet again that it is the oppressor who acts with no moral compass.

Secondly, the Middle East has been transformed in the past few years. The lines have shifted and pragmatism has become a more predominant approach, mainly to compensate for the US disengagement from the region. This has translated into the forging of new alliances and stronger, common visions that will not allow for Iran to expand its destructive agenda, which it wraps up in phony slogans of liberation.

In Iraq, even Shiites suffer more at the hands of the regime in Tehran and its militias than from any other enemy. Hezbollah is more focused on oppressing the Lebanese and Syrian peoples than anything else.

The true problem seems to be the opposite of what the Iranian regime claims. It is addicted to its attempt to leverage US power to its own advantage, more than to any other goal. Recent years have revealed this clearly.

Iran keeps looking for this recognition, like a bad child who wrecks everything so that his busy father will start paying attention to him — and at the same time the father encourages this bad behavior. In the meantime, the child’s brothers and sisters have all graduated and are looking out for themselves. This is the family picture of the Middle East on the eve of a possible new nuclear deal.

There is, in reality, absolutely no reason for confrontation or for Iranian regime to pursue such a strategy. A new nuclear deal could, and should, be the reset the region needs; a reset that brings a new era for the Middle East. We can, and should, build this region together and make it stronger.

There is a unique opportunity for the region to pivot. This opportunity is in the hands of the pillars of the Iranian regime. It would mean giving up on its destructive activities but I have little hope that the rulers in Tehran will change or amend their behavior. Quite the opposite; I expect them again to act with more violence. Yet it will not play out the way they think it will.

A key question that we cannot ignore is how will recent events along the Ukrainian border affect Iran? The relationship between Iran and Russia includes elements of collaboration and competition. Iran benefits from, and needs, Russia’s support in many of its actions. At the same time, it would happily replace Russian gas with Iranian gas. There could therefore be a situation in which Iran considers it might tactically be better to be more open to a consensus on Ukraine to avoid choosing sides. It might also see it as a unique opportunity for extracting a better deal. It is still early and the situation remains volatile.

Despite all the unknowns and opportunities, one can expect the behavior of the Iranian regime to remain fundamentally the same. It will not play the nice neighbor or good sibling, no matter the outcomes. It will continue to attempt to outsmart everyone but will only sit atop its own destruction.

But this time around, the Middle East family is well aware of this and ready for it.

Source » arabnews