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Why It's Tough to Get Tough on Iran

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The Problem With U.S. Middle East Strategy

It’s hard to get tough on Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent announcements that he would decertify the Iranian nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) and expand sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) testify to this fact. With these two moves, the Trump administration has expressed its dissatisfaction with the Iran policy it inherited from former President Barack Obama. At the same time, the administration has betrayed its inability (or unwillingness) to dramatically alter the United States’ overall strategy toward Iran. The recent announcements might make the U.S. approach to Iran marginally more assertive, but they will do little to change Iran’s behavior.
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