As tensions rise in the Persian Gulf, some observers, among them some prominent former Obama-administration officials, have criticized the Trump administration for provoking the Islamic Republic. Not only is that not so, writes Eli Lake, but their misconstruction of events has already led U.S. allies to dangerous conclusions:
European diplomats are urging President Trump to drop his campaign of maximum pressure and adopt one of “maximum restraint.” This is asking to be blackmailed. And now that Iran is threatening to exceed the limits to uranium enrichment it agreed to in the 2015 nuclear deal, it’s more important than ever to understand that restraint and dialogue will not bring Iran to heel. . . .
Iran was destabilizing the Middle East even as it negotiated with the West over its nuclear program starting in 2013. . . . Iran has waged its own war against the U.S. and its allies for decades. It has supplied insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan with the roadside bombs that maimed and killed U.S. soldiers. It tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. More recently, Iran’s diplomats and operatives were tied to terror plots in Western Europe. That’s one reason why Trump is now trying a maximum-pressure approach—to get Iran to end its own adventures in the Middle East. . . .
Iran’s bellicosity began long before Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign. It has been a feature of Iranian statecraft since the 1979 revolution. If allies in Europe and Democrats in Congress are worried about war with Iran, they should start by holding the regime accountable for its actions, instead of blaming them on an administration trying to deter them.
Read more on Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-06-18/to-avoid-war-with-iran-democrats-and-europe-should-support-trump