Expect More Iranian Aggression with New Nuclear Deal

Supporters of reentering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have wrongly attributed Iran’s malign regional activity to President Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, implying there will be a de-escalation once a new nuclear agreement goes into effect. However, data collected by JINSA indicates the greatest increases in Iranian violence come during periods of diplomatic engagement. For the 3.5 years the JCPOA was in effect, Iran attacked the United States and its partners more than three times as often as it did preceding the deal. In the 14 months since President Biden took office seeking to reenter the deal, Iranian aggression has nearly doubled compared to the second half of President Trump’s term.

If the Biden administration insists on entering a new agreement, it and its regional partners will almost certainly face a wide-ranging escalation of Iranian violence. To compel Tehran to curb such heightened aggression, the United States will need to retaliate strongly, consistently, and repeatedly against Iranian attacks. Single reprisals, even when as daring as the U.S. strike on Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani—have not been enough to deter Iran.   

Click here to read the NatSec Brief.

Click here to view infographic 1.

Click here to view infographic 2.

JINSA Staff Contributors

Blaise Misztal – VP for Policy
Ari Cicurel – Senior Policy Analyst