The missile threat to the Iran nuclear deal

Analys från IISS:

Ballistic missiles are a vital element of Iran’s military doctrine, largely as a substitute for a capable air force; they also play an important role in bolstering the credibility and legitimacy of the regime. As a result, there is little reason to believe Iran will bend to any attempts to curb its missile development. Political circumstances make it particularly impossible for Iran to stand down now. The programme is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an important power broker. As the rivalry between hardliners and moderates heats up in the run-up to President Hassan Rouhani’s bid for re-election in May, Rouhani will not want to appear to give in to an American president whom nearly every Iranian despises.

With this in mind, both the United States and Iran should calibrate their responses carefully. This is not to say that Iran should be given a free pass: there are a number of responses available to the Trump administration to try to rein in Iran’s missiles. But this will require a properly developed policy that goes beyond putting Iran ‘on notice’. The series of new sanctions designations issued by the Treasury Department on 3 February, targeting individuals and entities involved in Iran’s ballistic-missile programme, was an appropriate step, consistent with past practice and not inconsistent with US commitments under the JCPOA. The continued implementation of the agreement ensures that, at least for its duration, Iran will not develop a nuclear warhead to mount atop a missile. It would be a shame to let it collapse through blunder or bluster, on either side.

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