2015 FPI Forum: Iran's Ambitions After the Nuclear Deal

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"Iran's Ambitions After the Nuclear Deal"
Reuel Marc Gerecht (FDD)
Christopher Harmer (ISW)
Michael Singh (WINEP)
Moderator: Dr. Mark Moyar

Video  |  Key Quotations  |  Transcript

Key Quotations

“Iran's strategy basically starts with the fact that this is not a state which is strong in conventional terms.  Instead, we see Iran cultivating asymmetric power through proxies, through missiles, through its naval capabilities in the Gulf, through political influence, and subversion and so forth, and there is no doubt, I think, that a nuclear weapons capability fits into such a strategy because it gives you cover, in a sense, to engage in that kind of asymmetric—that kind of subversive activity in a way that your neighbors will have a harder time countering.” – Michael Singh

“What you have seen from Iran is what you're going to see from Iran in the future.  I think there's just going to be more of it.  I don't think Iranian foreign policy is going to fundamentally change.  I think it's going to continue to, you know, exploit what it has.  It is obviously going to fight hard to maintain its influence in Iraq, which I would argue is actually the most important country in play.  It obviously is going to continue to fight hard in Syria and it is going to continue to annoy the Saudis as much as possible in Yemen.” – Reuel Marc Gerecht

“What the deal does for Iran on the nuclear side is it allows it to keep its nuclear weapons option.  It keeps the nuclear weapons option while get sanctions relief and I think this was really the two fold objective that the Iranians had in mind, to have their cake and eat it too.  Our objective, I think, should have been to force them to choose, in a sense, which they wanted, but we didn't do that.” – Michael Singh

“I'd just [say] that the Israeli options    the Israeli military options are small and shrinking rapidly … I don't see that there's a viable military option in the future.  That doesn't mean they're not going to do something.  I don't think the Israelis are passively going to accept it, but I hope as Michael [Singh] said, I hope the United States re-embraces our role as the leader and lives up to the guarantees we've made to our allies previously.” – Chris Harmer

“The notion that the nuclear deal will now lead to U.S.-Iran friendship is mistaken.  I think what it's much more likely to lead to is Iran turning to [China and Russia] in terms of their international alliances and the deal removes a lot of impediments to doing that.” – Michael Singh

“The difference between the Russians and the Americans right now is simply a matter of willpower.  The Russians have a strategy.  They have objectives.  They're exerting their willpower to achieve those.  I don't know if they'll be successful or not, but they're actively proactively going after it and the United States right now just looks extraordinarily reactive, weak, and uncertain of what our priorities are.” – Michael Singh

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