Iran will have fewer incentives to engage in regional aggression after the nuclear deal but U.S. and its allies are well prepared to counter them
The United States has tools to combat Iranian regional adventurism and need not jettison the nuclear deal to preserve sanctions, which is just one of them. Regardless of the conflicting views of the nuclear deal itself, there is near-universal agreement that it will benefit Iran economically. And there is a convincing body of information and analysis to support the position of President Barack Obama’s administration that Tehran will use sanctions relief to generate economic stability at home, and that it can successfully counter any part of Iran’s newfound wealth that it delivers to bad actors.
Opponents can always point to a history of Iranian support for nefarious actors to justify their skepticism of the deal. But all this suggests is that Iran may continue to engage in this policy after a deal, not that it will ignore its domestic needs in this pursuit. In fact, an Iran with the political will and monetary resources to rebuild its economy and restore stability at home will have fewer incentives to shore up its alliances with those who oppose the United States and the international system. It’ll have too much to do at home and potentially too much to risk. Far from being a giveaway to a terrorism-supporting regime, then, sanctions relief may be the key to creating an Iran with a real stake in the international order.