The wrong way to address Iran’s missile program

Al-Monitor | : In remarks on Oct. 13 when decertifying Iranian compliance with the July 2015 nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump called on Congress to address the “near total silence on Iran’s missile program” and prevent it from “developing an intercontinental ballistic missile.” Congress has since floated bills that would not only impose further sanctions on Iran for its missiles, but would also condition America’s commitment to the nuclear deal on Iran’s missile policies.

While the European Union and the United States differ on the nuclear deal, they have taken a common position on Iran’s missile capability, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying on Nov. 9 that Iran’s missile program should be restricted, either via negotiations or sanctions.

US and European assumptions about Iran’s missiles often fail, however, to consider the political, legal, defensive and regional security contexts of the program. To hedge the nuclear deal’s fate on such a misguided understanding of Iran’s missile ambitions only serves to doom the deal and reinforce the rationale behind Iran’s missile program in the minds of decision-makers in Tehran.

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