As Nuclear Talks Pause, Iran Escalates

On March 13, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) fired twelve ballistic missiles from Iranian territory targeting the U.S. consulate site in Erbil, Iraq, marking a major escalation of its already intense pressure campaign against the United States and its Middle Eastern partners. Tehran seeks to test the Biden administration recently announced “indefinite pause” in nuclear negotiations, to push it to return to the table and make further, dangerous concessions, and to exert pressure on Israel to stop its “campaign between the wars” against Iranian regional aggression. Having seen the Biden administration’s extremely limited and indirect response to past attacks on U.S. forces, Iran clearly believes that the United States prefers conciliation to confrontation in the face of such attacks. Administration statements denying that this latest attack was not directed at the United States will only further embolden Iran.

To avoid signaling acceptance of Iran’s escalation, deter further Iranian aggression, and regain leverage in nuclear negotiations, the Biden administration should immediately retaliate against the perpetrators of this attack.

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JINSA Staff Contributors

Ari Cicurel – Senior Policy Analyst
Andrew Ghalili – Senior Policy Analyst