Without agreement to limit its destabilizing foreign operations, nuclear deal will only embolden Iran and provide them with more resources
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A nuclear deal with Iran will bring in hundreds of billions of dollars as Iran recoups frozen assets, exports more oil, takes in foreign direct investment, enters into trade agreements, and starts to shrug off its pariah status. Yet, the strategic calculus of the Supreme Leader and much of the ruling conservative establishment is the same today as it was when the Islamic Revolution began: preserving the regime at home and deterring threats from abroad, while externalizing the revolution and resistance. The Iran Threat Network, free of budgetary constraints and emboldened as a newly-minted nuclear power, is the engine of the regime and will resume Iran’s pursuit of broader goals in the region. Look for a return to past levels of activity by elements of the Iran Threat Network, including units of the Qods Force, whose budgets have been cut back as a result of Iran’s economic downturn. This means more operations in Syria, where Iran will continue to work closely with the Assad regime and Iran-trained, equipped, and guided militant networks; further attempts to support Shia activism in Bahrain, where Iran has attempted several times to create the conditions for regime change; continued use of Iraq as a transit point for illicit commerce coming from the Gulf, and the movement of men, money, and illicit materiel across the Levant; deeper support to Hezbollah and the newly-formed Palestinian coalition government; and likely increases in training, weapons, and funding to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and pariah states such as the Sudan.
Iran's regime is dedicated to spreading its revolutionary ideology and has a well-established network of terrorist proxies that it funds. If the nuclear deal is completed without addressing Iran's aggressive foreign policy, then it will only add fuel to this fire by giving Iran access to over $100 billion in sanctions relief as well as billions of dollars more in potential foreign direct investment and trade.