President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement if Tehran does not agree to renegotiate its terms this spring. But rather than tear up the nuclear agreement, the Trump administration should work to support the next #IranProtests — which would be far more likely to bring change to Tehran than would a U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
Over the past several weeks, Iranian repression and internet censorship have stifled the widespread protests that, beginning late last month, shook Iranian politics and drew global support. Rapidly escalating events caught many in Washington off-guard and struggling to find opportunities to assist the protesters — an all too common pattern when it comes to Iran. But the underlying tensions that drew the protestors into the streets — low wages, unemployment, and government corruption — remain. Now is the time for the Trump administration to ensure that the United States will be prepared when Iranians come back out to demand change.
Following the standard foreign policy playbook, the Trump White House issued forceful public statements supporting the protesters and sanctioned Iranian officials involved in political repression, both of which were welcome moves. But a more powerful form of support for the Iranian public would be to liberalize the U.S. sanctions rules that continue to impede Iranians’ access to cutting-edge apps and other technology — tools that would enable the protesters to more effectively defy the Iranian government’s repression and censorship.
Read the full commentary in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
ReportsSanctions by the Numbers: 2020 Year in Review
Sanctions designations remained high in 2020, with 777 designations compared to 785 in 2019....
By Sam Dorshimer & Francis Shin
CommentarySharper: North Korea
For decades, North Korea's authoritarian dictatorship has threatened Northeast Asia's regional stability, challenged U.S. interests, and subjected its own citizens to an unpar...
By Joshua Fitt, Jason Bartlett, Chris Estep, Cole Stevens & Kristine Lee
VideoThe Financial Footprints of North Korea’s Hackers
As North Korea continues to successfully evade U.S. and UN sanctions, what can the United States do?...
ReportsExposing the Financial Footprints of North Korea’s Hackers
How North Korea conducts intricate and sweeping cyberattacks against the United States and its allies to acquire funds to support its illicit nuclear proliferation efforts....
By Jason Bartlett