When seemingly spontaneous protests erupted in cities across Iran, beginning in the last days of 2017, the prospect of a new, uncertain, and even hopeful chapter in the country’s tortured history seemed possible. But in Washington, there was little indication of change or opportunity. Instead, the same old debate about the Iran nuclear agreement unfolded.
As thousands of Iranians took to the streets, critics immediately bellowed that the protests proved that the Iran deal was a failure because it had not improved the lives of ordinary Iranians, or claimed that it legitimized the regime and was the reason such unrest had not come about earlier, practically blaming former President Barack Obama for the Islamic Republic’s continued existence.
Indeed, for many opponents of the Iran deal, it has become the single explanation for every (allegedly bad) decision Obama made on Middle East policy over his entire presidency, ranging from his restrained approach to the Green Revolution protests in Tehran in 2009 to his reluctance to become more militarily engaged in Syria. Such airbrushed history distorts the debate — and does little to illuminate what the United States should do next on Iran.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
PodcastReturning To The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Essential For Biden's Foreign Policy Agenda
Ilan Goldenberg speaks with Franco Ordoñez about the importance of returning to the Iran nuclear deal for President Biden's foreign policy agenda. Listen to the full conversa...
By Ilan Goldenberg
VideoUS, Iran open indirect discussions to revive nuclear deal
Ilan Goldenberg joins France 24 to discuss possible revival of talks between U.S. and Iran and whether they can find common ground on the nuclear deal. Watch the full video f...
By Ilan Goldenberg
PodcastMissiles, Mines, and the Future of U.S.-Iranian Diplomacy
Elisa Ewers joins The Warcast to discuss ongoing developments to an explosion that struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman. Listen to the full interview from War on ...
By Elisa Catalano Ewers
CommentarySharper: National Security's Next Generation
The need to amplify new and diverse voices in national security policymaking has never been clearer....
By Chris Estep, Ainikki Riikonen & Cole Stevens