The National Interest:
Gawdat Bahgat is a professor of national security at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.
There is no doubt that the “maximum pressure” strategy is making life harder for the government of Tehran and the majority of Iranian people. Still, it is unlikely that the pressure will lead to a major policy shift. The 1979 Islamic Revolution was largely driven by hostility toward American penetration of Iranian government and society. For generations, Iranians have perceived their country to be a victim of interference by global powers including Russia, Britain, and now the United States. They believe these global powers have denied Iran the regional prominence it deserves. Economic sanctions are reinforcing this sense of victimization and are not likely to lead to a key policy shift.
A revised deal with Iran that entails compromises by all parties should not come at the expense of other regional powers, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In recent weeks Tehran has proposed signing a non-aggression pact with its Arab neighbors, but Riyadh and Abu Dhabi rejected this overture. That said, tensions among Middle East countries could be reduced if Iran had better relationships with its neighbors. Arab countries do not need to see Iran as a common enemy in order to work together. Instead, major Middle East countries merely need to agree on an inclusive regional security architecture. This would be a win-win proposition and would pave a path towards global peace.
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