Experts say that more needs to be done to curb Iran’s funding of terrorism, especially as the Gulf States are growing increasingly concerned about the fate of the failed nuclear deal.
Many countries in the Middle East were concerned that the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), failed to set restrictions on how the money that would be flowing into Iran could be spent and feared that it would be used to finance terrorist groups. In early 2018, the US government found that some of the $1.7 billion released to Iran as a result of the deal went to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen; both groups labelled as terrorists by the US.
Senior US political adviser Ali Khedery, the longest continually serving US official in Iraq, said that the JCPOA was doomed to fail because it only addressed one aspect of the Iranian Regime’s malign behaviour.
He said: “The JCPOA was destined to fail in curtailing Iran’s global and regional terrorist activities because it didn’t address any of them, only the nuclear program, and it addressed it in a short-sighted and insufficient way because Iranians were able to negotiate sunset clauses, which meant a lot of them expired after a few years.”
Khedery advised that the US needed a comprehensive strategy to deal with Iran, rather than just relying on sanctions. He said that this needed to address, not just the behaviours that affect the West, but also the terrorism against its own citizens and the support of groups like Al-Qaeda.
An overall strategy would involve a mixture of military means, diplomacy, and economic sanctions, with the potential to ramp each of them up if Iran’s behaviour did not improve. Khedery said that the cost of this policy is low, but it benefits could be astronomical.
He said that it was just a matter of political will, which is why Congress, the media, allied governments and legislatures should support Trump’s measures.
Miles Pomper, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies in Washington, said that sanctions that broadly affect the economy or interfere with transfers to terrorist groups would also be needed.
He said: “Given the amounts of money involved are believed to be relatively small, it’s not clear if anything will work,” he said. “Of particular importance is restricting Iran’s role in Syria, given the potential for confrontation there.”
Source » ncr-iran