By Renewing the Arms Embargo on Iran, Europe Is Helping Ukraine

Yesterday, France, Germany, and Britain moved to renew a UN embargo on Tehran’s import and export of missiles and missile technology, which was set to expire in October. Richard Goldberg, writing before the decision was made, explains the importance of this step:

Over the last year, Iran has transferred hundreds of armed drones to Russia for use inside Ukraine with thousands more planned. These drones have inflicted enormous damage and terrorized civilian populations. Russia is reportedly now domestically producing Iranian drones as well. When the missile embargo expires, Iran may consider transferring short-range ballistic missiles, too.

Ukrainian leaders may not believe these UN restrictions matter much, but they do. Believe it or not, Russian and Iranian propaganda rely heavily on international law to claim legitimacy in their illicit conduct.

Russia and Iran seek to chisel away at longstanding international norms of conduct and replace them with new ones that legitimize otherwise illicit conduct. They aim to establish a new accepted reality in which the independence of smaller states takes a back seat to their imperial ambitions. In this respect, they are not only waging a war against Ukraine on the ground and in the skies; they are waging political warfare, too. Allowing the UN missile embargo to expire is a victory for Moscow and Tehran, plain and simple. Keeping it and restoring the conventional arms embargo, too, would be a big win for Ukraine.

The European powers, however, decided not to reinstate sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program—which, Goldberg goes on to argue, is a mistake.

Read more at Kyiv Post

More about: Europe, Iran, War in Ukraine

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy