Former State Department Official Says Nuclear Deal Will Not Moderate Iran
A former U.S. State Department official who served as an adviser on Arab-Israeli negotiations explained why he believes Iran will not moderate its stance after the nuclear deal is implemented in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday
Aaron David Miller, an author and Middle East analyst, began by asserting that Iranian moderation after a nuclear deal “was always a long-term bet,” and that it was “clear now…that the Islamic Republic [of Iran] regime is not moderating its repressive and authoritarian character but consolidating it.”
Evidence of this, wrote Miller, was Iran’s increasing involvement in Syria, now alongside Russian forces.
“Qassem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guards al-Quds force, is personally directing a coordinated effort with Russia, the [Assad] regime, Hezbollah and pro-Iranian Iraqi Shia militias,” wrote Miller, noting that the, “Iran, Russia, Assad alliance is a new and likely enduring Middle East reality.”
Further proof, according to Miller, is Iran’s recent test of the Emad (Pillar) guided long-range ballistic missile, which could potentially carry a nuclear warhead.
Miller claimed that the test, which may have already violated the JCPOA and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, demonstrated Iran’s determination to upgrade its military capacity, thus increasing its “ability to throw its weight around the region,” which is “hardly an encouraging sign of moderate predispositions.”
Moreover, Miller posited, even Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s approval of the JCPOA was an attempt to “consolidate the revolution and not weaken it.” By securing the removal of sanctions, and thus raising the standard of living of Iranians, Khameni’s consent to the deal was intended to “ensure regime longevity,” and not to moderate its policies.
Based on these facts, the potential for a fundamental change in the regime is “scant indeed.” Even the possibility of Iran opening up economically does not mean the regime would loosen its authoritarian and repressive nature, wrote Miller, as the past examples of China, Vietnam the former Soviet Union and Cuba have demonstrated.
Miller ended on a pessimistic note, concluding, “Anyone who thinks Iran is on a linear course to moderation ought to lay down until the feeling passes.”