Besides the converging of issues such as the fight against ISIS and opposing the Kurdish referendum, a new U.S. approach toward Tehran is also emerging. This approach is based on the assumption that Tehran is using the JCPOA to advance its regional influence as well as its military capabilities. Hence, President Trump is stressing the need to renegotiate the deal to include Iran’s ballistic missile program. Trump’s harsh rhetoric on Iran will have an influence on Iran’s revision of its nuclear and regional policies.
Nevertheless, Iran first and foremost is banking on the international community and especially the EU to counter Washington’s pressure. I believe Iran will not initially change its policies towards the region, instead waiting to see what Washington’s new approach looks like and what changes it will bring about. This is for two reasons: first, it has scored a moral victory as the party has honored its JCPOA commitments, isolating the U.S. internationally. Tehran doesn’t want to lose that. Second, Tehran feels that the tide in the Middle East is now to its favor. So it will not change its regional policies unless the Trump variable adds something to the equation that leads Iran to make such a change. And that is not yet the case.